China Belt and Road Initiative Journal: Research Analysis and Perspectives
The Silk Road and Economic Belt
Volume 2, Issue 3, July 2019
In terms of the construction, both the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” are closely linked to the Europe, especially the Central and Eastern Europe.
At present, there are basically two routes in the layout of building the “Belt and Road” in Europe, namely, the north route and the south route. The north route refers to the Eurasian Land Bridge which starts from the inland provinces and the west of China and reaches Europe via Xinjiang, China, the Central Asia, Russia and the Central and Eastern Europe. Many freight trains have come into operation on this route including the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe International Freight Train (from Chongqing, China to Duisburg, Germany), the Wuhan-Xinjiang-Europe International Freight Train (from Wuhan, China to Prague, Czech), the Chengdu-Europe Express Rail (from Chengdu, China to Rodz, Poland), the Zhengzhou-Xinjiang-Europe Freight Train (from Zhengzhou, China to Hamburg, Germany), the Yiwu-Xinjiang-Europe Freight Train (from Yiwu, China to Madrid, Spain), the Suzhou-Warsaw Block Train (from Suzhou, China to Warsaw, Poland) and the Hunan-Europe Express Rail (from Changsha, China to Duisburg, Germany).
The south route is a sea route which starts from the coastal cities in the south of China and ends at the Piraeus Port in Greece via the Mediterranean Sea. The Piraeus Port, the largest port of Greece, is known as the “South Gate of Europe”. In the past, Chinese goods had to be delivered to Europe through a circuitous route as passing through the India Ocean, rounding the Cape of Good Hope in the south of Africa, crossing the Atlantic and traveling through the West African coast. Now, through the Piraeus Port, Chinese freighters are able to directly cross the Red Sea and the Suez Canal and unload the cargo at the Port which will be directly transported to European hinterlands via the Greece-Macedonia-Serbia-Hungary Railways. The new route has become the shortest sea route between China and Europe, cutting 7 to 11 days of delivery by sea. So far it has become a project under the “Belt and Road” Initiative pushed by the Chinese decision makers in recent two years.
When the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Serbia in December of 2014, he had an in-
depth exchange of views with the related parties and confirmed the plan of building the
China-Europe Land-Sea Express Passage on the basis of above-mentioned routes. The China’s “Belt and Road” Initiative has caused diverse repercussions in European countries, especially in Central and Eastern European countries (16 CEE countries were listed as the countries along the “Belt and Road”). The EU has been following the “Belt and Road” Initiative and expecting the synergy between the Initiative and the existing projects and plans of the EU.
The EU’s response to the “Belt and Road” Initiative suggests that the Initiative enjoys a popularity in Europe and Europe expects to get a lift from the rise of Chinese economy and develop economic and trade relations with China by making full use of the various initiatives and mechanisms launched by China. However, to understand the real attitude of Europe towards the initiative, the official declarations of the European countries are far from enough. Therefore, it is necessary to further analyze the motives behind European responses and the potential of the bilateral cooperation between the two sides. In this book, the author has made a concrete analysis on the European responses through multiple field trips and on-set interviews, and then put forward some specific policy suggestions on the future cooperation between the two sides.
1. The Risks Assessment of the Belt and Road Initiative in the Construction of the Europe
2. Policy Suggestions