Infrastructure

Expert Voices

As China expands Belt and Road in Europe, its promise could diminish

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Croatia'd Andrej Plenkovic on a bridge in the rain
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic at the construction site of a Chinese-funded bridge in southern Croatia on April 11, 2019. Photo: Xinhua/Huang Jingwen via Getty Images

Greece joined China’s club of Central and Eastern European countries during the group’s meeting in Croatia Friday, in another symbolic victory for the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) just weeks after China signed a memorandum of understanding with Italy.

The big picture: China has long insisted that this grouping, now the “17+1” format, will not undermine the European Union. But it has adopted very different investment strategies in EU and non–EU countries.

What's inside Trump's new energy plan

President Trump plans to issue executive orders on Wednesday aimed at easing domestic natural gas transport and avoiding the kind of lengthy battles over cross-border energy projects that ensnared the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Why it matters: The 2 orders show how the White House is trying to make fuller use of executive powers to speed up permitting and approvals of projects, including natural gas pipelines facing state-level opposition. But the plans are sure to create opposition from environmentalist who fear that Trump is trying to run roughshod over ecological protections and analyses.