Economic policy implications of the Belt and Road Initiative for CESEE and Austria

Client/Funding Institution

Embassy of the Peoples Republic of China


The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a vision to revive the ancient ‘Silk Road’, was first presented by the Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. This initiative will affect more than forty countries throughout Eurasia and Africa. For Austria, it is particularly interesting, due to the country’s strong economic relations with Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. China has identified this region as the gateway to Western European markets, and emphasised its strategic importance with the initiation of a diplomatic initiative titled ‘16+1’. Furthermore, this region has a particularly high need for infrastructure investment, which form the core of the BRI. An analysis of developments in trade and investment, accompanied by the evaluation of the need for infrastructure investment in sixteen countries in Central, East, and Southeast Europe (CESEE), should allow for the identification of potential fields of cooperation between China and Austria in the context of the ‘new Silk Road’.


October 2017 - March 2018

wiiw team Leader

Julia Grübler

wiiw Staff

Alexandra Bykova, Manuela Engleitner, Mahdi Ghodsi, Doris Hanzl-Weiss, Mario Holzner, Gabor Hunya, Robert Stehrer

Keywords: silk road, belt road initiative, BRI, China, Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, trade, investment

Countries covered: Central, East and Southeast Europe, China, Western Balkans

Research Areas: International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI