Central Europe May Be Influenced by China

November 29, 2018

28 November 2018, Washington DC

During the Conference "The State of Ukraine's Energy Sector" in Atlantic Council, Center has brought up the scenario under which the Central Europe may fall under the influence of China after 2025.

Mr. Omelchenko, Director of Energy Programmes at Razumkov Centre, has reiterated that "It is worth considering the scenario of Central Europe's being under the powerful economic and political impact of China after 2025 as Russia would weaken its stance in Euroasian region for the benefit of China. Under this scenario Russia would act as the ice-breaker to the European unity in the strategic interests of China".

The expert has stated, that Russian influence is increasing in Central Europe gradually due to European countries' enhanced dependence upon energy supplies from the Eastern direction. This is also facilitated by enhanced role of the energy hubs in the interests of the Moscow-Berlin-Vienna triangle and construction by Russian companies of the new energy and transport facilities in Central Europe.

First and foremost, this is the development of "Nord Stream 2", construction of the nuclear power plants in Hungary and Belarus as well as the merger of the German gas hubs Gazpool and NCG for the benefit of the Russian gas traders in this region.

If there's no sufficient investment from the United States in the energy security and infrastructure of the Central European countries, then this important geopolitical region may fall under China's and Russia's political influence in the next 5–10 years.

The key speakers were: Ambassador Richard Morningstar, Founding Director and Chairman of Global Energy Center (Atlantic Council), Mr. Edward Chow, Non-resident Senior Associate, Energy and National Security, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dr. Ariel Cohen, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council. The Conference Moderators were: Dr. Anders Aslund, Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council and Melinda Haring, Editor, Ukraine Alert, Atlantic Council.

The Conference included two panel discussions based on the paper presentation "The Role and Place of Ukraine's Energy Sector in Global Energy Processes" delivered by experts of the Razumkov Centre's Energy Programmes: Volodymyr Omelchenko, Victor Logatskiy, Svitlana Chekunova and Maksym Biliavskyi.

The first panel focused on discussing the Ukrainian Energy Sector: Opportunities for Expansion and Investment and the second one — on Ukrainian Energy Sector in the Global Context.