Over at Foreign Affairs, analysts Julianne Smith And Torrey Taussig see increasing European concern with China’s illiberalism and its explicit quest for technological dominance. Of particular concern, they argue, is China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which we explore in Chapter 4 of Exit from Hegemony.
China’s BRI has drawn particular skepticism from EU policymakers, who see golden handcuffs behind Beijing’s promises of lavish spending. In some places, the handcuffs are already snapping shut. In 2016, Greece and Hungary—both recipients of massive Chinese economic investment tied to the initiative—watered down language issued by the EU on Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. In 2017, Greece torpedoed an EU statement on Chinese human rights violations. Earlier this year, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, whose country has received significant Chinese investment, took a strong stand against tighter European screenings of Chinese investments. “We’ve now reached a situation where China essentially has veto power inside EU decision-making bodies,” one senior EU policymaker observed recently to one of us.
The article is definitely worth a read.