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Master Thesis

Entre émerveillement et appréhension : (Dès) Union européenne face aux Nouvelles Routes de la Soie

Abstract : What is the Chinese government hiding behind its rhetoric on the "New Silk Roads", and what would the consequences of such a project be for European actors? In taking up the history of the mythical roads which have shaped Eurasian trade, Chinese President Xi Jinping has made this major economic and geostrategic project one of the pillars of his foreign policy. This programme, called "Belt and Road Initiative", is intended primarily to finance modern and large scale infrastructure and the development of rail, road and maritime transport. According to Mr Xi Jinping himself, it resolves around a single theme, namely “connectivity”: 65 - 4.4 – 63: connecting 65 countries, 4.4 billion people, or 63% of the world's population. Public financing from the Chinese government's own funds, facilitated access to advantageous bank loans, the staunch defense of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of States … China’s version of economic liberalism is attracting an increasing number countries drawn by the prospect of allying themselves to China in order to challenge the current infrastructure of international governance, in which they occupy a marginal position. Nevertheless, the development of "Eurasian" trade cannot be achieved without the approval and cooperation of the European Union, the real endpoint of the New Silk Roads project on the Eurasian continent. Even though the European Union is currently weakened by the rise of nationalism in Europe, by the threat of an increasingly strong anti-European movement, by an external service whose diplomacy is far from unified ; it must also face up to the interference of the New Silk Road’s project on its soil, and the concerns it raises about its compatibility with certain fundamental European rights such as economic liberalism, the right to protect workers, the control of public subsidies or the right, in principle, of access to free competition. In a "post-globalised" world as described by Xavier Ragot, the EU is confronted with a crucial and decisive dilemma for its survival: to unite as a 27 states bloc and respond firmly to the Chinese proposal, or to divide itself and give free rein to each state to determine its own policy – at the risk of permanently compromising intra-European relations –. The “small steps” solution contemplated by the EU constitutes a pragmatic response to the challenge posed by the Chinese project, which also represents a real opportunity for interconnected development in Eurasia.
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Valentin Martin. Entre émerveillement et appréhension : (Dès) Union européenne face aux Nouvelles Routes de la Soie. Sciences de l'Homme et Société. 2019. ⟨dumas-02280869⟩

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