1st Edition

The European Union and China’s Belt and Road Impact, Engagement and Competition

Edited By Vassilis Ntousas, Stephen Minas Copyright 2022
    270 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    270 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book explores key elements of European Union (EU) engagement with the Belt Road Initiative (BRI), drawing on the expertise of leading practitioners and scholars of EU-China relations.

    Under the theme of discerning the BRI and its nexus with the EU, chapters examine the nature of the BRI as China’s approach to global governance and consider how BRI intersects with the EU as a very different regional integration project. Under the theme of BRI factors in EU law and policy, chapters examine the BRI as a factor in specific domains of EU law and policy, including investment, finance, the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic and consider EU responses. Under the theme of EU Member State experiences, chapters present a series of case studies of individual Member States, their engagement with the BRI and ongoing policy debates.

    This book will be of interest to scholars and students of International Relations, EU external relations, Chinese public policy and foreign relations, European studies and security studies as well as policymakers dealing with China in EU and Member State institutions.

    Foreword by Thanos Dokos

    Part 1: Introduction

    1. Introduction: Facing The Belt and Road From The European Union

    Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas

    Part 2: Discerning the BRI and its Intersections with the European Union

    2. The Belt and Road Initiative as China’s Approach to Global Governance: Implications for China-EU Relations and Economic Cooperation

    Yun ZHAO and Hui CHEN

    3. The EU-China Diplomacy and the Belt and Road Initiative

    Jing MEN

    4. The BRI Kaleidoscope: European Legal Pluralism and BRI Soft Law

    Francis Snyder

    5. The Belt and Road in the Single Market: Towards an EU legal infrastructure to address the regulatory implications

    Steven Blockmans and Weinian Hu

    Part 3: Belt and Road Factors in EU Law and Policy

    6. Sino-European Financial Linkages Underpinning BRI Projects in Europe

    Jens Bastian

    7. The Belt and Road Initiative and State-Owned Enterprises: Is it Time for Reform of the EU Merger Control?

    Alexandr Svetlicinii

    8. EU-China Cooperation on Promoting Sustainable Development under the Belt and Road Initiative—Consensus Built on Divergence

    Su Xueji

    9. COVID-19 and EU-China Relations

    Mario Esteban and Ugo Armanini

    Part 4: EU Member State Experiences and Debates

    10. France, China and the BRI: The challenge of conditional engagement

    Françoise Nicolas

    11. Between Commerce and Geopolitics: Is there a German China strategy?

    Stefan Mair and Ferdinand Schaff

    12. Greece Between Crisis, Opportunity and Risk as a Key BRI Node

    Dimitris Kokoromytis and Angelos Chryssogelos

    13. Italy’s Embrace of BRI and the Role of Internal Political Dynamics

    Alessia Amighini

    14. China and the Belt and Road Initiative in Europe: The Case of Portugal

    Laura C. Ferreira-Pereira and Paulo Afonso B. Duarte

    Part 5: Conclusion

    15. Conclusion: The EU’s Belt and Road Challenge: Coherence, consolidation and connectivity

    Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas


    Vassilis Ntousas is Senior International Relations Policy Advisor at the Foundation for European Progressive Studies and an Academy Associate at Chatham House.

    Stephen Minas is Associate Professor of Law at the School of Transnational Law, Peking University, China, and Senior Research Fellow at the Transnational Law Institute, King's College London, UK.

    "A rich and comprehensive contribution to the literature focusing on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its nexus with the larger framework of EU-China relations, this book provides readers with a great collection of insightful chapters that shed light on the complex and shifting realities concerning the subject matter. Expertly edited by Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas, this volume brings together an impressive range of contributors, who all provide much needed, nuanced, in-depth analysis on such a critical topic. This is a truly essential resource for all those interested in understanding  the evolution of both the BRI—China’s signature foreign policy venture—and European approaches to it." 

    Pascal Lamy, Coordinator of the Jacques Delors Institutes (Paris, Berlin, Brussels).

    "The volume The European Union and China’s Belt and Road: Impact, Engagement and Competition offers inspiring and thought-provoking readings which arrive at the right time. The advance of China’s Belt Road Initiative and the deepening economic cooperation between the EU and China are transforming international economic governance. Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas have brought together an exceptional collection of high-quality papers on the key elements of EU engagement with the Belt Road Initiative, drawing on the rich expertise of leading scholars of EU-China relations. This book is essential reading for all experts interested in a wide range of literature, opinions, and case studies, dealing with the fast-evolving China-EU relationships."

    Julien Chaisse, Professor, School of Law, City University of Hong Kong & President, Asia Pacific FDI Network

    "This book investigates one of the most important and least understood bilateral relations in world affairs today. The book explores very timely topics on China’s Belt and Road Initiative’s interconnections with the European Union from a law and policy perspective. It also ably analyses the Belt and Road Initiative from the perspective of EU Member States. It will be of great use both to EU and China law and policy professionals."

    Rafael Leal-Arcas, Professor of European and International Economic Law & Jean Monnet Chair in EU International Economic Law, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

    "Twenty authors give fifteen chapters explaining why the system of international relations and global governance built by China, as its "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI), cannot be ignored anymore by EU institutions, European policy makers and scholars. What actually is BRI becoming and how does it evolve? How do EU Member States react or contribute to BRI? And what parts of EU law and policy are really impacted by BRI issues? Understanding such open and complex topics requires access to qualified and trustworthy knowledge. The book makes that easy to understand and is beneficial for any level of readership. A great work, an extremely useful book, which treats seriously the successes and dilemmas of China’s BRI and the challenges faced by the EU."

    Jean-Michel Glachant, Director of the Florence School of Regulation and the Holder of the Loyola de Palacio Chair, European University Institute, Italy.

    "Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas have gathered a sterling set of experts to analyse the implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative for the European Union. Neither alarmist nor complacent, this volume offers a nuanced and pragmatic analysis. Covering all relevant dimensions, the book will be of great interest to scholars and practitioners alike."

    Sven Biscop, Director of the Europe in the world programme, Egmont - The Royal Institute for International Relations, Belgium; Professor at Ghent University, Belgium.

    "This is a most timely collection of crisp essays on the many intersections between China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the European Union. Mandatory reading for policymakers, scholars and students!"

    Jan Wouters, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam – Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, KU Leuven, Belgium.

    "With the EU having labelled a "partner, competitor and systemic rival" this is a must-read publication for European and Asian policymakers, business leaders, academics and students who are either struggling to make sense of the vast and complex enterprise that is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, counter it with their own vision of a hyper-connected world or to seek out ways of selective cooperation with China’s "project of the century". The BRI’s different facets and implications explored in the book provide an invaluable window into China’s view of global governance, its strengths and weaknesses as a global power and whether competition and cooperation with China can really co-exist amid intensifying US-China geopolitical competition."

    Shada Islam, Managing Director, New Horizons Project, and independent EU commentator and analyst.

    "This volume brings together a comprehensive interdisciplinary perspective on China’s ‘project of the century’ and its intersections with the EU. Rich in both strategic and technical insights the volume covers an important gap in literature of Sino-EU relations and strategic connectivity. It constitutes an essential reading on a protean BRI and EU’s perplexed engagement with China."

    Vasilis Trigkas, Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University, China.

    "Vassilis Ntousas and Stephen Minas have produced an indispensable volume to understand the daunting challenges of China's global infrastructural initiative for EU policymakers. With its massive investment in fossil fuels, ports, railways, green technology and nuclear energy, China is pushing into European space in ways that need mapping and tracking. The strength of this volume, that the contributors focus on the systemic rivalry between Brussels and Beijing, gives it its timeliness and importance. It is also comprehensive with chapters on technology transfer, IP protection, financial services, soft law, macroeconomic policy and case studies of the BRI projects in France, Greece, Italy and Portugal. From a policy perspective, these talented researchers make a convincing case that China's approach to global governance will require a divergent, more coherent, muscular response from EU institutions and Member States. In addressing these issues innovatively, they have pushed the public debate in new directions. This is exactly the kind of original research that is badly needed." 

    Daniel Drache, Professor Emeritus, Department of Politics, York University, Toronto and co-author of One Road, Many Dreams: China's Bold Plan to Remake the Global Economy, 2019.

    "These volumes complement and add depth and detailed examples to a broad argument in the wider literature that China does challenge specific rules, approaches, and practices, but not the whole edifice of order."

    Catherine Jones, Journal of European Integration, 2021.