Seven Years of The 16+1: An Assessment of China’s ‘Multilateral Bilateralism’ in Central Europe

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Series Details Number 107
Publication Date April 2019
ISBN 979-10-373-0024-9
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Since mid-2012, in the wake of the global financial crisis, China has sought to reinvigorate relations with Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), notably through the creation of the 16+1 formula.

After seven years of existence, and in the context of growing concerns about China’s assertiveness, deepening US-China rivalry, and the EU’s more cautious engagement with the PRC, the time is right to assess the effectiveness of this formula as seen both from the Chinese and CEE perspectives. The 16+1 is another example of China-led multilateralism, which is an indispensable element of PRC foreign policy. This paper aims to assess the rationales, evolution and results of the 16+1 format, but also to imagine the future development of this formula.

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