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China’s Silk Road in Europe: Not Just Hungary

Jun 11 , 2015

Hungary has become the first European country to sign a memorandum of understanding with China on promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and Maritime Silk Road, China media report. The MoU was signed on Sunday, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Budapest, where he met with Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In a statement on the occasion, Wang said he hopes more European countries will join in.

Hungary may be the first country in Europe to officially sign an MoU relating to China’s “One Belt, One Road” strategy, but the subject has cropped up repeatedly during Chinese interactions with Europe. When Xi Jinping toured Europe in April 2014, with stops in The Netherlands, France, Germany, and Belgium, he urged the EU and China to work together to combine EU policies with China’s Belt and Road. When Li Keqiang attended the China-Central and Eastern European (CEE) Leaders’ Meeting in Serbia in December 2014, he also highlighted the role Europe has to play in the Belt and Road – and the role China can play in completing infrastructure and energy projects in Central and Eastern Europe under the aegis of that initiative.

More recently, during Xi’s visits to Russia and Belarus this May, both countries agreed to work with China on the Silk Road Economic Belt. Belarus agreed to the project hoping to win Chinese infrastructure investments, while Russia promised to link its new Eurasia Economic Union with China’s Belt and Road.

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