Understanding the Impact of the Normative Power of the European Union on the Belt and Road Initiative: The Case of Italy, Serbia, and Latvia
Sammanfattning: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was announced in 2013 and has attracted much attention from many countries. Promising significant investments all over the world, including in Europe, the BRI has prompted vibrant discussion regarding how it will shape international politics. While many studies have been published on how the BRI is influencing trends in different countries and regions, there has not been any research on how those countries try to socialize the BRI during their interaction with China. This dissertation aims to contribute to the by looking at if the level of a country’s affiliation with the EU, which is usually considered as being a normative power, equals the level of EU norms present in China’s BRI interactions with that country. The dissertation used a qualitative content analysis of official agreements and other documents related to China’s BRI interactions with our three case countries (Italy, Latvia, Serbia) to study the topic. The dissertation also studied what norms were present in the BRI when the BRI was first defined in 2015 to be better able to see what norms originate from the EU. To complement our data and give our data more context, we have also conducted expert interviews with country experts as well as EU-China experts while also utilizing second hand or tertiary sources if it is needed. The dissertation concludes that the EU’s internal norms are affecting the BRI and the level of affiliation to the EU matters. The more a country is affiliated4with the EU, the more EU norms are present in China’s BRI interactions with said country. Affiliation levels and EU norms present in China’s interactions can change over time and be affected by the case country's attitude towards, and dependency of, the EU.
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