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Policy brief

The Chinese Economic Footprint in Central and Eastern Europe

Impact on Energy Transition and Climate, Policy Brief No. 97

In the past decade China has launched and promoted its first global infrastructure and economic development platform – the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It seeks to link China with Europe and countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific. The BRI binds the countries along its way in large-scale China-financed infrastructure projects, which enhance China’s economic and political leverage. Around USD 14 billion in Chinese funds have entered the Central and Eastern European region in the form of grants, development loans, mergers and acquisition of domestic assets and concession agreements. To expand its economic influence in CEE, China has exploited a number of domestic governance deficits including lack of transparency of intergovernmental agreements, circumvention of national competition and public procurement law, and inconsistency with EU objectives. 

The Policy Brief makes a comprehensive overview of the different patterns of Chinese economic influence. It measures the main indicators for the Chinese economic footprint in 12 CEE countries. The brief zooms in on the impact of Chinese investments on the overall quality of climate policies as well as provides targeted policy measures on countering the malign aspects of the Chinese economic presence.

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