Wed Apr 10, 2019, 08:29 PM

Chinas Spreading Influence In Eastern Europe Worries West

2 minutes ago

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Coal-powered plants, mobile networks, major bridges, roads and railways: Chinese investments have been booming throughout Central and Eastern Europe’s cash-strapped developing countries, even as European Union officials scramble to counter Beijing’s mounting economic and political influence on the continent.

EU member Croatia is hosting a summit Thursday between China and 16 regional countries — the 8th so far — that focuses on expanding business and other links between China and the region, which Beijing sees as a gateway into Europe.

The gathering in Dubrovnik of the so-called 16+1 initiative consists of Central and Eastern European countries that have endorsed China’s ambitious global “Belt and Road” investment project, which has triggered concerns among some key EU states about increased Chinese political and economic clout in the region.

China has already invested billions of dollars in various infrastructure projects in Central and Eastern Europe. Western leaders worry that further investment in the states that are EU members — or those hoping to join — could mean lower environmental and other standards than those in the rest of the bloc.


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