China’s Silk Road Project is the biggest infra-structure project of the 21 century. It has the potential to create opportunities not only for the countries along its stretch but also for Europe. But beyond the promise of greater connectivity and investment opportunities, the opportunity costs are high.
The investment volume of China’s state backed companies and in infra-structure projects can hardly be matched by European counterparts. Therefore, European businesses and politics need to become creative in developing alternative forms of contributing and cooperation.
Knut Dethlefsen and Lora Saalman suggest that a bottom-up practitioners approach provides the opportunity to play out a European skill-set and open additional cooperation avenues. Converging interests between China and the EU exist in achieving development goals and minimize security risks along the Silk Road. The EU can contribute on a whole range of tools in standardizations, capacity building and best practice.
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