Movement on the Silk Road

China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative as an
Incentive for Intergovernmental Cooperation
and Reforms at Central Asia’s Borders

Contact Information: Dr. Sebastian Schiek

Research Division: Eastern Europe, Eurasia 
Associate

sebastian.schiek(at)swp-berlin.org

phone:+49 30 88007-331

Through the BRI: The country (China) aims to use it to bolster both
its international legitimacy and its geopolitical power.

Europe’s view of the initiative is ambivalent. On one
hand, it promises a certain added value, for example
investment in European infrastructure, on the other
hand, China and the European states were unable to
resolve their disagreements at the Forum. China was
not prepared to include principles demanded by the
Europeans in the final communiqué, in particular
guarantees of free trade and fair competition, transparency and social and environmental sustainability.
For this reason, European states, including Germany,
France and the UK, refused to sign the final text.
Central Asian governments, on the other hand,
have a less ambivalent attitude to the Chinese Initiative. The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and
Uzbekistan took part in the Forum and signed the
communiqué. This was because of the great importance China now has in Central Asia, but also their
strong desire to profit from the New Silk Road

It will not be possible for the EU to become an official partner in the Chinese initiative for the foreseeable future because the interests and norms of China and the EU differ too widely at the global level. In many regions, including Central Asia, the Initiative is already playing an important role and will continue to do so in the longer term. Given the opaque nature of international alliances, European states should, therefore, try to identify common foreign policy interests with China on specific topics or regions