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Europe and China’s New Silk Roads

A Report by the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC), December 2016

The purpose of this report is to provide a comparative perspective of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative (OBOR), as seen from the various European Union (EU) member states. The Chinese leadership officially launched this framework in autumn 2013, presenting it immediately as a key national concept and foreign policy priority for the years to come.

Yet OBOR is not a formal policy or a well-defined strategy, but rather a very broad conceptual framework for policies that aim at contributing to greater economic integration within Asia, between Asia and Europe, and between Asia and Africa through a diversity of activities and projects. At the heart of OBOR is a strategic approach to infrastructure development in a very broad sense. Accordingly, China’s first action plan on OBOR identified transport, energy and telecommunication infrastructure as priorities (although this list is not exhaustive).

The report was edited by Frans-Paul van der Putten, John Seaman, Mikko Huotari, Alice Ekman and Miguel Otero-Iglesias. It is the second report by the European Thinktank Network on China (ETNC) in an on-going effort to dissect and reassemble Europe–China relations from an EU member state perspective.

The European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC) is a gathering of China experts from a selection of European policy research institutes. It is devoted to the study of Chinese foreign policy and EU-China relations and facilitates regular exchanges among participating researchers.