Europe in the World

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European seaports and Chinese strategic influence

18 Dec 2019 - 10:15
Bron: The Italian port of Genoa has signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese port of Shenzhen © Shutterstock
The relevance of the Maritime Silk Road for the Netherlands

Chinese investments in European seaports have increased rapidly in recent years. This process has triggered a debate in Europe on the significance of, and how to deal with, growing Chinese influence in European ports. This process is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – in particular its maritime component, the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) – and is among the economic and geopolitical effects of China’s growing role in global affairs. The MSR and the debate on Chinese port activities are highly relevant for the Netherlands, which is a major hub for trade between Western Europe and the rest of the world, and hosts Europe’s largest seaport. To better understand the relevance for Europe and the Netherlands of Chinese investments in European ports against the background of China’s Maritime Silk Road, this Clingendael Report discusses two main questions:

  • What is the relevance of Chinese involvement in European ports for China’s political influence in the European Union?
  • What are the long-term implications for the Netherlands of the Maritime Silk Road, in particular in regard to Chinese involvement in European ports?

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