OBOR makes clear that China’s political and security engagement in the 21st century is disguised in economic terms. It is therefore recommended for the intelligence services to use their networks to engage in the continuous monitoring of the extent to which the OBOR rollout affects a country’s social fabric, creates potential financial
vulnerabilities and raises the risk of civil unrest and conflict. Doing so will enhance our early phase of understanding the extent to which OBOR related investments heighten a country’s susceptibility to societal unrest.
Raise public awareness on the new Silk Road
Within Europe itself it is important that the degree of public awareness concerning OBOR is greatly enhanced, especially concerning the conditions under which investments are made and loans issued, and which consequences these carry. The EU should take the lead in ensuring that there is a public information campaign on OBOR and that all relevant publications (research reports, academic articles, policy papers) that appear on this topic are distributed widely among EU member states and candidate countries and available in an online repository.
The rising threats to regional security, caused by China’s economic modus operandi, are a long-term threat to the EU. The EU therefore needs to increase its influence in its neighborhood by improving ties with these countries and providing both governing elites as well as the overall population with a more attractive alternative for the future. Given that China’s track record in the area of foreign investment is not perceived positively across the board, there is room for Europe to maneuver. The EU should stay firm in its commitment to upholding human rights and strengthening the rule of law, but should place a heavier emphasis on issues such as sustainability