Let a thousand contacts bloom: How China competes for influence in Bulgaria

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Series Details ECFR/437, Number 437
Publication Date March 2022
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  • China is a geopolitical latecomer to Bulgaria, having traditionally shown more interest in other countries in south-eastern Europe.
  • Beijing has long struggled to gain influence in Bulgaria due to the country’s EU membership and entrenched interests in sectors such as infrastructure and energy.
  • China has responded to this challenge by adopting a multi-track strategy of engagement with state and non-state actors at the national and subnational levels.
  • Beijing has significantly expanded its subnational cooperation with Bulgaria in areas such as culture, education, agriculture, research, public procurement, and e-governance.
  • China has focused on strengthening its frameworks of cooperation and building relationships with local elites to circumvent national policies.
  • China’s growing presence in Bulgaria has concerning implications in areas such as technology transfers, agriculture, research, ‘smart city’ and governance projects, control of critical infrastructure, and public procurement.
Source Link https://ecfr.eu/publication/let-a-thousand-contacts-bloom-how-china-competes-for-influence-in-bulgaria/
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