“China’s seduce-and-divide strategy in Central Europe is getting a reality check.

For years, Beijing has promoted heavy investments and a particular diplomatic format — called 16+1 — to build its influence with a cross-section of 16 Central and Eastern European countries, some that belong to the EU or NATO, some to neither. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday open the sixth China-Central and Eastern Europe summit in Budapest.

This push has set off alarm bells in Brussels, in particular about Beijing’s activities in the Balkans. But it is now also running into regulatory, financial and political hurdles, highlighting possible limits to Beijing’s economic and diplomatic influence in Europe.” (POLITICO)