Chapter 13 Normative power Europe in the Belt and Road Initiative: challenge for constructing the self or an opportunity for changing others?
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China launched the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013. Hitherto the initiative involves almost all the European Union (EU) Member States and countries in the EU’s immediate neighborhood. Drawing on the theoretical lens of “Normative Power Europe” (NPE), the paper analyzes the normative interaction between the EU and China in the context of BRI, and its implications for the EU’s identity construction as normative power. The BRI is built upon norms of non-interference and unconditionality and follows an idiosyncratic governance model. Therefore, it does not directly contradict norm promotion and socialization agenda of the EU. Rather, the BRI provides the EU with additional opportunities for norm diffusion as a new arena. However, if dealt with poorly, the governance model of the BRI may exacerbate cacophony among EU Member States and institutions, resulting in degradation of the EU’s normative presence and power in the regions covered by the BRI.

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