Big words, little deeds: Chinese investment plans in Slovakia don’t live up to their expectations so far. The simplified narrative of the Central European countries as a “bridge and gate” between China and the EU needs to make way for a more realistic vision.
It has become a kind of folklore to announce bombastic cooperation plans after every summit with the Chinese premier. All remained the same also after the Sofia summit between China, and Central and Eastern Europe (the “16+1 platform”) in July this year.
Following the bilateral summit with Li Keqiang, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini announced plans for how Slovakia is going to profit from relations with China. Construction of a broad-gauge railway, food exports to China, reduction of tariffs on cars produced in Slovakia, or Slovakia’s role as an investment and postal hub were among the major projects mentioned by Pellegrini. However, a realistic and detached scrutiny reveals that these plans are bringing nothing new or significant for Slovakia.