Reports overview: UMV- China – opportunity for Central and Eastern Europe

02.03.2015 | By Łukasz Kołtuniak

The Czech Ustav Mezinarodnich Vztachu published the report developed by Rudolf Furst: Cina znovu objevuje byvalu vychodni Evropu: duvod k radosti ci obavam?

 Author seeks an answer to the question whether cooperation with China may be profitable for Central Europe and what policy toward China The Czech Republic should pursue.The report provides the summary of the early years of functioning of the 2012 Warsaw initiative – the so-called 1+16 – the forum of China and Central European countries. Furst accentuates the division into countries less and more advanced in their cooperation with China. The leaders are Poland and Hungary but political relations do not directly translate into economy. Despite a privileged status in political relations, cooperation with Beijing does not bring Warsaw substantial economic profits.Yet, the Author promotes cooperation with China as a huge opportunity for the whole region. Moreover, Beijing makes attempts to exploit the cooperation with Eastern and Central Europe to have “a window on Europe.” For the time being, however, the effects of political cooperation are not reflected in the field of economy. This does not impact significance of the opportunity China may offer for the region. Moreover, there is much room for potential cooperation especially in the power industry and infrastructure.

What is the position of Czech Republic against other Central European countries? For a long time, Czech foreign policy was impacted by “Havel’s doctrine” that assumed support for democracy and human rights even if it indirectly undermines short-time economic interests. The Author is glad that this wrong, in his opinion, doctrine determining the right-wing policy, has been abandoned. Furst accentuates collision of two two opposite, but wrong, assumptions of the Prague diplomacy. On the one hand, the right-wing politicians followed the rule “we reduce contacts with Beijing to minimum as human rights are violated there.” This mindset was demonstrated by 11 visits Dalajlama paid in the Czech Republic. On the other hand, the approach of left-wing parties – Social Democrats and Communists – was excessively pragmatic and ignored principles in Furst’s opinion. Actually, the report concluded that the Czech Republic should develop reasonable, businesslike relations with China, primarily in the field of economy, as they may bring bilateral benefits.