China’s granular engagement with the Western Balkans is inconspicuous, has the capacity to exploit differences between national policies, and can harness local entrepreneurship to develop ties with the country
Areas of expertise
Central and south-east Europe in the EU, China in central, eastern, and south-east Europe, EU politics and EU conditionality
English, Bulgarian, basic German, basic Russian
Vladimir Shopov is a visiting fellow with the Asia Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
He was a full-time lecturer in politics at Sofia University (2004-2006) and an adjunct professor at Sofia University (1997-1998) and the New Bulgarian University (2012-2014). He has been an external lecturer on the European Union, NATO, security, and south-eastern European affairs at the Diplomatic Institute of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2004. He is currently teaching on Asian Affairs in the Politics Department of Sofia University as an adjunct professor. He has been a foreign affairs columnist at Forbes Bulgaria since 2011. He is a co-founder and columnist of Reduta.bg, a Bulgarian website for analytical journalism.
EU-Africa relations are characterised by a series of failed beginnings. They continue to suffer from a lack of deep and far-reaching political will, despite being the subject of a series of diplomatic initiatives in the past two decades.
China has not embedded itself in the Western Balkans as much as it might have done – and may even be looking back on the 2010s as a wasted decade