Europe is right to be wary of China’s growing economic footprint on the Continent. Beijing’s attempts to nudge European policy in a direction that serves its strategic interest — and its selective interpretation of EU regulation — are issues that deserve long-term attention from policymakers. But while China is a concern, Europe should not lose sight of the immediate foreign policy crisis it faces: Russia.
To be sure, Beijing’s influence threatens to exacerbate existing divisions among EU members that already struggle to agree on a common foreign policy. In Eastern Europe especially, China is making inroads by investing in crucial infrastructure projects and could drive a wedge between national governments and Brussels.
China’s growing economic weight is inevitable: As Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, one of the most enthusiastic proponents of Chinese investment, has said, the world economy’s center of gravity “is shifting from the Atlantic region to the Pacific region.” It should not surprise EU-watchers that China is seeking to expand its economic reach into Europe.
Read the full article at Politico