A Synergy of Failures: Environmental Protection and Chinese Capital in Southeast Europe

Konstantinos Tsimonis, Igor Rogelja, Ioana Ciuta, Anastasia Frantzeskaki, Elena Nikolovska, Besjan Pesha

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10 Citations (Scopus)
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Chinese economic presence in Europe is primarily discussed as a security threat with its impact on sustainability remaining a rather marginal issue. This article investigates the repercussions of Chinese capital's surge in Europe for environmental protection and analyses the reasons behind its performance. We examine five key Chinese projects in Southeast Europe, a subregion that includes countries with different forms of association with European institutions and with varying levels of development and state capacity. We find that the negative environmental impact of these projects cannot be attributed to the commonly-held perception of the Chinese as inherently ‘bad’ investors and of host states as ‘weak’ and dependent. Rather, we identify a synergy of failures between investors, host states and regional institutions that results in poor regulation and compliance. This finding calls for the inclusion of sustainability in foreign investment screening mechanisms and the abandonment of contradictory developmental priorities in the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-200
JournalJournal of Current Chinese Affairs
Issue number2
Early online date19 May 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2020


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