China’s strategic approach to the Western Balkans

How much influence does China already ha be in the Western Balkans and how should European policymakers react?

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China’s formalised, seemingly nonchalant, attitude towards the Western Balkans masks a surprising nimbleness and strategic intent. In the past decade, the country has become the most prominent third actor in this part of the European Union’s neighbourhood. To find out why, host Mark Leonard talks to Majda Ruge, senior policy fellow in ECFR´s Wider Europe programme with a focus on the Western Balkans, Vladimir Shopov, visiting fellow with ECFR’s Asia programme, as well as Vessela Tcherneva, deputy director of ECFR and head of ECFR’s Sofia office. Together, they discuss why it is important to take a closer look at Chinese engagement in the region, how much influence China already has in the Western Balkans and how European policymakers should react. 

This podcast was recorded on 12 May 2021.

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Cover image:
Image by REUTERS/Djordje Kojadinovic