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Geo-economics with European Characteristics: Evidence from European and Chinese Development Institutions in Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova

Panel Discussion
Thursday, February 16, 2023, 1:15 pm – 3:00 pm


The emergence of China as a major provider of development finance has garnered considerable recent scholarly debate. Chinese investments and their impact on recipient states have been extensively studied, especially regarding the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). At the same time, the European Commission (EC) has announced its own connectivity-strategy, the Global Gateaway initiative (GG) to counter China. However, competition between Chinese “state capitalism” and Western market led, private-public-partnership (PPP) oriented strategies in development finance remains vastly understudied, especially about the competitiveness of European investments in its neighbourhood. Thus, we ask: to what extent has EU lending been able to counter Chinese development finance in the previous EU Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from 2014 to 2020? In the following, we argue that European investment in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, has proved competitive enough in absolute (by amount invested) and relative (through deeper economic cooperation) terms to counter China’s increasing economic presence in the region, but that the gap has been closing in total terms. Our study suggests, that while EU investment has been outmatched by China’s growing influence in the EaP region for the previous MFF, further research must be done to unpack individual projects and their geoeconomic implications.



Jack Lambert Strosser (Dual BA History, Russian Studies) is currently pursuing a Master’s in International Relations at Central European University, with a chosen emphasis on International Political Economy. In addition to the paper presented at PERG, he has conducted field research alongside Mr. Kruger in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on European development investment in drinking water infrastructure. His Master’s thesis will expand on this research to include financialization measures as well as political economic dynamics of hydro-electricity between various Central Asian states.

Angelo is a graduate student at the International Relations department at Central European University (CEU) and a research assistant at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His work focuses on the international political economy of development finance and Chinese overseas investments, with a particular interest in investor-investor relations and economic outcomes. Previously, he graduated with a BA in History, Politics, and Sociology from the University of Potsdam, with study and research visits completed in Los Angeles, Boston, and Paris. Angelo is also a board member for the student-led Young Journal of European Affairs (YJEA), where he contributes to the journal’s work on European political economy and public policy.