The Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and Its Implications for Europe

  • Andreas BreinbauerEmail author


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is usually associated with a gigantic infrastructure project that connects China with Europe. This article shows that it has been clear since its founding that it is much more: an invitation from China to the rest of the world to cooperate at various levels, such as politics, business, science, and culture. Chinese officials argue that it will create a “win-win” situation and cooperation with mutual benefits. The main objectives are long-term economic growth through the transformation of China into an innovation-driven economy, stronger influence within the framework of global political-economic architecture, better access to energy and resources, and increased political stability, especially in neighboring countries. The infrastructure sector is only one of several priorities of the BRI, but it is the most visible. In this context, the BRI addresses an objective need to improve the transport network, including in Europe. A faster and less expensive infrastructure is an important basis for economic prosperity and can indirectly lead to economic stability in politically volatile regions. BRI investments could thereby also bring a kind of “peace dividend”. By summarizing other Chinese strategies and plans it can be shown that, 6 years after the inauguration of the BRI, there is an asymmetry and a bias towards the Chinese side. The lack of reciprocity—not only in investments—is a challenge to Europe as a business location. A consistent and coordinated European strategy in dealing with the BRI and its implementation is the order of the day.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Applied Sciences BFI ViennaViennaAustria

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