The purpose of this report is to provide a comparative perspective of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative (OBOR), as seen from the various European Union member states. The Chinese leadership officially launched this framework in autumn 2013, presenting it immediately as a key national concept and foreign policy priority for the years to come. This report covers the role of OBOR in the relations between China and fourteen EU member states, including all larger countries and many middle-sized ones, as seen from the European side. It does so by systematically treating three basic questions across a selection of EU member states and at the EU level itself:
• Which OBOR-related activities exist currently in the host countries and at the EU level?
• What is China’s approach towards individual EU member states with regard to OBOR?
• What are the perceptions and reactions in individual European countries and at the EU level?
This is the second report by the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC). ETNC members represent major European think tanks and are specialized in analysing China–Europe relations. The purpose of the ETNC is to exchange information on relations with China among its members and to provide information on China–Europe relations from the perspective of the EU member states. When examining the EU–China relationship, the network’s discussions, analyses and recommendations take a decidedly ‘bottom–up’ approach, examining the perspectives of individual EU member states towards China or China-related issues in order to generate a more comprehensive perspective on the broader EU–China relationship. The Clingendael Institute is a member institute of ETNC.
Photo: German Minister of Economics and Energy Sigmar Gabriel (l.), China’s president Xi Jinping and the governor of North Rhine- Westphalia Hannelore Kraft in Duisburg, Germany (March 2014)