Croatia’s decision to allow a Chinese state-owned company to construct Pelješac Bridge isn’t sitting well with many…
As Index writes on the 26th of October, 2018, the German Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper has published a major article which focuses on the rise of Chinese powers in Europe, and as one example of this trend, they’ve used the apparently rather uncomfortable fact that a Chinese state-owned company is set to build Croatia’s long-awaited Pelješac Bridge in Southern Dalmatia.
The aforementioned German publication points out that with certain moves, China is creating dependence from certain Eastern European countries on it, but that the European Union doesn’t actually have an adequate response to the challenge, other than to just complain about it.
FAZ writes that “in far-away major cities such as Athens, Prague, and Zagreb, Beijing has a significant influence” and that the governments of some European countries, including the Government of the Republic of Croatia, behave submissively in respect to the interests of China.
It recalls that back in 2015, Greece, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia managed to dispel the official position of the European Union on the situation in the South Sea, where China has ongoing border disputes with its neighbours, and last year, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declined to sign an EU letter condemning human rights violations in China.
Brussels is apparently not happy that the Chinese will build Pelješac Bridge.
Still, publication writes China has the greatest influence over Greece, as the owner of the port in Piraeus, in the Czech Republic, but also that it is increasing its influence in Croatia via the construction of Pelješac Bridge, which has also been met with rather significant upset from the side of the European Commission, which is financing this strategic Croatian project with 85 percent of the necessary funds.
“The fact that no European company won the bid to build the bridge, although it’s being funded by European funds, is newsworthy,” the German newspaper states.
“Brussels is growing worried about the growing influence of China,” FAZ writes, adding: “Pelješac Bridge is one of the most important EU transport projects in Brussels’ perspective, while China considers it to be part of its initiative on the new Silk Road.”
The newspaper also quotes former German Foreign Minister Sigma Gabriel as saying that China’s intention is “to offer a systematic alternative” to the West.