SPP student Fridon Lala, presents his paper at Columbia University

May 9, 2019

Fridon Lala (MPA ‘19) presented his paper “The Changing Face of European Regional Governance: Demystifying the Role of China in the Balkans” at the ASN World Convention on May 3rd, 2019.

His paper deals with the recent extension of the Belt and Road Initiative toward the Western Balkans which has rung the alarm bells in Brussels. He argues that on the one hand the enhanced infrastructure and trade links may improve the region’s specific developmental outcomes and ease the EU accession process but on the other hand, China’s reputation for “debt-book diplomacy” may easily undermine the reform agenda set by the EU for the Western Balkan countries. The EU’s unease at Beijing's overtures to the region is palpable given that EU enlargement into this region could mean greater economic prosperity as well as a strengthened security policy concerning geopolitical tensions along the EU’s eastern borders.

The presentation elaborated on questions like: Is Western Balkan risking to enter a chapter of greater volatility and turmoil due to the geopolitical competition? Are EU's power projection capabilities in the region eroding vis-à-vis those of key adversaries, especially China? How will China's BRI penetration in the region affect the EU's reformist agenda for the Western Balkans?

For further information on the convention, please visit https://www.asnconvention.com/