Eurasian Integration and China’s BRI: Opportunities and Challenges
Keywords:BRI, OBOR, EAEU, Regional Integration, New Regionalism, One Belt One Road, Belt and Road Initiative, Eurasian Economic Union, European Union’s Eastern Partnership Program, New Regionalism Theory
The idea of Eurasian integration has come up as a strategic goal of major powers in recent years. Russia’s Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Partnership Program (EPP) with the objective of expanding a sphere of influence and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to create economic integration through transportation infrastructure and trade are three major strategies for this purpose. This study highlights that China’s growing presence in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is a clear indicator of its growing influence. Therefore, the article aims to appraise China’s rise in Eastern Europe through its BRI and Eurasian integration strategy. Secondly, it presents a comparative analysis of multiple Eurasian integration strategies. Through a prism of “New Regionalism Theory,” this study delves into exploring the factors behind China’s effort to create regional integration in the whole Eurasia. The findings of the study show that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a unique idea in the sense that it aims at not only the integration of geographically adjacent regions but also creating physical connections in faraway regions. This convergence will not only bring more financial opportunities for the regional states but also manifest a great probability for China’s emergence as the greatest Eurasian power.
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