Dr. Anastas Vangeli is an Assistant Professor at the School of Economics and Business, University of Ljubljana. He is is also a Senior Non-Resident Fellow at the ChinaMed Project, Torino World Affairs Institute and a Research Fellow at the EU*Asia Institute, ESSCA School of Management.
Research Project Topic: Global China. China-Balkans and China-Europe Relations. Belt and Road. Geo-economic Imaginaries. Economic Nationalism. Diffusion of Ideas. Title of the Research Project : China and the Balkans: from the global financial crisis to the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond [monograph] Description of the project (Abstract) At EURICS, Dr. Vangeli will develop his book project on China’s relations with the Balkans after the global financial crisis, and the lessons they offer for understanding the impact of China on the global political economy. The key argument of the book is that the arrival of China in the Balkans has stimulated processes of (re)imagining the position and role of the region in the global political economy, both among actors from the Balkans, and among external actors that deal with the region (in the first place, the EU and the US). These processes have not been a mechanical consequence of the intensifying economic cooperation between China and the Balkans, which has seen significant challenges and limitations. They have rather been an outcome of the dialogue of the narratives on the different possibilities (both pessimistic and optimistic) for the future development of the region, co-produced by China, the regional actors, and the Western stakeholders. The lasting effect of these processes concern not only China’s role in the Balkans, but also the understanding of the region itself, as well as the policies of the EU and US towards it. This, then, reveals an important aspect about the impact of Global China – while China may or may not re-shape the Balkans through its economic and political presence in the future, it is already contributing to a changing the context and trajectory of the region, by stimulating the imagination of others (in positive and negative ways), and consequently, their policy response. The book project builds upon substantial previous research on the topic, voluminous original data in the form of interviews and participant observation in ’track 2’ events, and complements it with eclectic secondary data in the form of policy and media reports, documents, and social media content.