DART online seminar "The EU, China, and the Western Balkans: The Challenges and Prospects of Further Integration"

Professor Danijela Jacimovic, Jean Monnet project coordinator and DART research affiliated Scholar, gave a lecture titled "The EU, China, and the Western Balkans: The Challenges and Prospects of Further Integration". 

The seminar was organized by Bentley University (Waltham, Massachusets) on Thursday, November 18 at  6.30 pm (CET) and moderated by professor Joel Deichmann.

Professor Jacimovic described the relationships between the EU, China and the Western Balkans, and aimed to answer three questions: 

  1. What is  the balance of power between China and the European Union in relation to the region?
  2. To what extent the presence of China could have an effect on the Western Balkans’ relationship with the European Union, and the potential impact on the accession prospects of nations in the region?
  3. Is a  “win-win-win” situation possible for the EU-China-Western Balkan relationship?


The abstract of the seminar is given below:

The context of EU enlargement has changed fundamentally since the Eastern enlargement rounds of the early 2000s. On the one hand, enlargement has become politicized domestically and on the other hand, enlargement has turned into a matter of geopolitical competition between the EU, Russia, Turkey, and China in Western Balkans.  In the meantime, China has become the most prominent third actor in the Western Balkans, being much more present than Russia or Turkey, the traditional partners for the region. Where China’s relations with the Western Balkan countries should be viewed in 3 dimensions, the bilateral relations, CEEC relations, that is the so-called 17+1 framework and the third dimension is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI focuses on trade, investment, connectivity, and people-to-people exchange.  China’s approach with loans and construction work on infrastructural projects in the Western Balkans has been widely welcomed and its acceptance both by the regional leaders and by citizens has surprised everybody. That is why China’s active policy in this region has, to some degree, made the EU suspicious of Beijing’s intentions, which may undermine the EU’s coherence in policymaking on China.

On the other hand, underinvestment in the infrastructure sector is a chronic problem in the West Balkans, and thus China’s entry in the region may partially contribute to finding solutions to the problem?

During the presentation, short video clips from the Jean Monnet seminar held in May (read more about it here), were played for the participants, as it treated the same topics.

Around 30 participants, from Bentley University and University of Montenegro took part in the seminar, both students and teaching staff. The lecture was followed by an interesting Q&A session, where participants had an opportunity to ask questions regarding this actual topic.





The information about the seminar can also be found on the Bentley DART website.

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