“The EU has sounded the alarm about China’s role in the Western Balkans, warning that Beijing could turn countries in the region into Trojan horses that would one day be European Union members.

European Commissioner Johannes Hahn told POLITICO’s EU Confidential podcast that China’s “combination of capitalism and a political dictatorship” could appeal to some leaders in the region on the Continent’s southeastern flank.

Although much Western concern about the Balkans in recent years has focused on the role of Russia, Hahn said there is more reason to be uneasy about China, which has made a series of significant investments in infrastructure projects there.

Asked about the prospect of Beijing creating Trojan horses by using its financial clout to get political sway over countries that aspire to join the EU, Hahn cited the example of a highway in Montenegro being built and financed by China.

‘This is exactly the case with this famous highway in Montenegro. And also this is a kind of pattern, or let’s say business model, by the Chinese to offer attractive or more or less attractive loans and if you cannot serve them, it’s turned into capital,’ said Hahn, the commissioner responsible for relations with the EU’s neighbors and talks with prospective new members.” (Politico EU)