Lora Saalman and Knut Dethlefsen

Following the Forum: China's Belt and Road Initiative and the EU

This policy brief is meant to provide context for European decision makers as they encounter one of China’s most pervasive diplomatic and development vehicles to date, as well as some targeted suggestions on ways ahead.


China’s Silk Road Project is the biggest infra-structure project of the 21 century. It has the potential to create opportunities not only for the countries along its stretch but also for Europe. But beyond the promise of greater connectivity and investment opportunities, the opportunity costs are high.

The investment volume of China’s state backed companies and in infra-structure projects can hardly be matched by European counterparts. Therefore, European businesses and politics need to become creative in developing alternative forms of contributing and cooperation.

Knut Dethlefsen and Lora Saalman suggest that a bottom-up practitioners approach provides the opportunity to play out a European skill-set and open additional cooperation avenues. Converging interests between China and the EU exist in achieving development goals and minimize security risks along the Silk Road. The EU can contribute on a whole range of tools in standardizations, capacity building and best practice.

Saalman, Lora; Dethlefsen, Knut

Following the Forum

China's belt and road initiative and the EU
Singapore, 2017

Download publication (170 KB, PDF-File)

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