The Politics of Geo-Economic Competition in Southeast Europe
Over the course of the past decade, the region of Southeast Europe came into the focus of geo-economic competition. The influence of external actors has expanded beyond Russia (chiefly energy and media), Turkey (retail) and China (with its Belt and Road Initiative). The engagement of the United Arab Emirates (as a credit provider) and Azerbaijan (as a gas supplier) are notable. In short, geo-economic competition is in play in Southeast Europe – a region which the European Union considers its own turf historically, politically, economically and strategically.
Expanding geo-economic competition in the region triggers the question what enabled the growing footprint of non-EU actors? Moreover, to what degree are failures of the EU and its closest ally, the US, part of the explanation for the escalation of this competition?
The conference seeks to discuss in what policy areas geo-economic competition is taking place, what are the priorities of external actors and how effective are the counter-strategies devised by the EU, its member states and the US?
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