Chinese Presence in the Balkans - Old Allies, New Ties

AuthorMarsela Musabelliu
PositionSchool of International Relations, Xiamen University, PRC
European Journal of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
IIPCCL Publishing, Graz-Austria
Vol. 1 No. 1
January 2017
ISSN 2519-1284
Acces online at
Chinese Presence in the Balkans - Old Allies, New Ties
PhD (C.) Marsela Musabelliu
School of International Relations
Xiamen University, PRC
The previous two and a half decades have seen the Balkan countries proceed with their move
from basically centrally-planned economies, towards an undeniable open market philosophy
for all governments of the area. The region has generally outperformed many developing
countries nearby, driven by trade growth, large in ows of investment and private consumption.
This ongoing process of modernization has been paramount to developing a manufacturing
base to satisfy growing EU demand for cheap manufactured goods. EU was and remains the
main source of FDIs and rst trading partner of the Balkan countries, but we observe in the
last years an always growing in uence of Chinese presence in the region. China's exchange
relations with Southeastern Europe at rst centered on creating trade with the Balkan’s biggest
markets, and a er that, Be ing based investments went on with the li ler ones. Peculiar
here is the fact that Be ing has aimed at boosting exports and owing investments in a time
when no other country would do so: immediately a er the nancial crisis of 2008. Despite
these positive trends, the region remains very diverse with respect to income, standards
of education/healthcare and infrastructure. The countries under analysis in this paper are:
Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Croatia
and Romania. 1 This paper endeavors to evaluate the real impact of People’s Republic of China
in the economic and political stances of the 21st century on the aforementioned countries.
Keywords: Balkans, China, Cross trade, Foreign Direct Investments, Cooperation Mechanisms,
One Belt One road.
The Balkans economy in their complex historical and political context
From the enormous realm of the O oman Turks to the breaking down of Yugoslavia,
national fringes inside the Balkans have changed drastically throughout the years.
Following the collapse of the Yugoslav federation in the early 1990s, the region was
set ablaze by a decade of war and con ict (Medlico , Farrar, 2008). But many things
changed since then, and most of the disorders worn away and all these countries
peoples, are eager to prosper. Even today there is not a very strict denomination of the
area and which the countries are that belongs to the term. In order to appear the ‘issue’
even more discombobulating, the same name ‘Balkans’ is not the only denominations
used. Plenty refer to it as South East Europe. In here countries frequently included
are, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and
1 The initial intent was to include also Kosovo’s economic performance on attraction of FDIs and trade part-
ners; unfortunately, there are no available sources (ex. World Bank Database, IMF yearbook, MOFOCO, etc)
on real fi gures to evaluate. Furthermore, in some scholars’ opinion, Romania is not nominated as part of the
Balkans, but for the purpose of this study Romania will be part of the analysis. As well as Greece is defi nitely
known as a Balkan country, but again, for the purpose of this study and the perspective of a group with some
common background, Greece will be left out.

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