Is China an important investor in the Western Balkans? No, the EU remains by far the largest donor in the region. In 2015, EU member states invested 21.8 billion euro in Serbia, China only 139 million euros. According to the Berlin Institute Merics, Chinese direct investment in the region does not even amount to the EU’s five per cent is not even 5 percent of those of the EU. China, however, is now in the lead when it comes to lending. Between 2007 and 2017, China granted Serbia USD 3 billion in loans. According to the Serbian Ministry of Infrastructure, the projects currently under negotiation with China have a value of 6 billion USD. The largest projects include: the construction of the Mihajlo-Pupin bridge over the Danube, the construction of the high-speed railway between Belgrade and Budapest, the expansion of the thermal power plant in Kostolac and a highway to the Montenegrin coastal city of Bar. China’s largest direct investment in Serbia 2016 was the purchase of the Smederevo steel plant for 46 million euros.
China plans to turn the Greek port of Piraeus – for which the Chinese shipowner Cosco Pacific has just received a 35-year concession for the modernization and operation of two container freight carriers – into a regional hub for trade with Europe. Photo: Ⓒ Medin Halilovic / Anadolu Agency / Getty