Chinese capital is making its way to Europe. One of its destinations are the usually overlooked countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans which are interesting to China as transit routes for their products headed to wealthier Western Europe.
Aside from investing in these countries Chinese have also established regular formal links. Since 2012 the so called 16+1 summits have been held bringing together Beijing and 16 ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe (11 of whom are in the EU).
One government irritated by this is Germany. It’s ambassador complained yesterday:
Germany is concerned about the growing influence of China in eastern and southern Europe, German ambassador to China Michael Clauss said in an exclusive interview.
“In our view, setting up parallel networks such as China and eastern Europe or China and southern Europe are somewhat inconsistent with a commitment to a coherent and strong EU,” Clauss said this week.
It is rare for Germany to publicly express uneasiness about China’s growing presence in southern and eastern Europe.
Doubtlessly the Chinese understood what the German ambassador was saying but were too polite to point it out. When Chinese sit down to talk with eastern and southern Europeans German officials would like to be there to oversee it all.
I’m sorry Germany but that question was settled a while ago. A helpful reminder: