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October 2, 2018

When Xi Jinping first launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the idea of improving trade and transport links between China, Asia and Europe was received favourably in many European countries. Especially central and south-eastern European governments were keen on Chinese infrastructure investments. Five years on, the mood has somewhat changed. There are concerns over “debt diplomacy” and political influencing. And there’s pushback from Brussels. The EU Commission last month published its own plan for better connecting Asia and Europe. Still, the BRI presents a dilemma for the EU, says Theresa Fallon of CREAS, a Brussels-based think tank: How to engage with China without compromising European standards and values? In the new MERICS Experts Podcast she argues that “the EU needs to proceed very carefully.”