The New Silk Road Group-Public Roundtable II-China and EU in the MENA Region

As part of a series of public round table discussions, this event will explore EU and Chinese perspectives on the role of The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The aim of this public round table is to bring together researchers, companies and government officials to discuss how the EU should position itself with regard to the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) in the MENA region. The discussion will include examining the short- as well as long-term prospects of the BRI and their relevance to the three regions.

Time: 13:30 - 16:30 

Location: Room 2.01 (Main auditorium - 1st floor), Wijnhaven Building, Turfmarkt 99, 2511 DP The Hague

NSRG Public Roundtable Agenda:

13:30-13:40     Opening and welcome by the chair: Ying Zhang (RSM)

13:40-13:50     Round of introductions by panelists

13:50-14:00     Introduction: MENA Region in the New Silk Roads

           By Mohammadbagher Forough (Leiden University)

14:00-14:40     Statements by the panelists (5 minutes each)  


Joanna Konings

Senior Economist International Trade Research, ING

H.E. Shujjat Rathore

Ambassador of Pakistan to the Netherlands

Mohammadbagher Forough

Leiden University – Clingendael Institute

Zheng Zhi

Chief Correspondent at China Radio International, Brussels

Tony van der Togt

Clingendael Institute – Strategic Advisor to Dutch MFA

14:14-15:00     Q&A with the audience

15:00-15:15     Coffee/Tea Break

15:15-16:30      A debate on the questions

16:30                End of program


Questions to be addressed by panelists include but are not limited to:

-           What new geo-economic dynamics are taking place in the MENA region in

              the context of BRI?

-           How are the EU and MENA region reacting to the US trade war against China?

-           What are the geopolitical consequences of this new geo-economics?

-           What are the EU’s perspectives (opportunities and concerns) with regard the MENA region

              and specifically the BRI investments in that region?

-           What are Chinese perspectives on the MENA region (risks and opportunities)?

-           What role can individual EU countries (such as the Netherlands) play in this new Eurasian



-           What are the environmental impacts of these regional dynamics?


-           How do the geopolitical risks in the MENA region affect business and trade?


-           Other questions from the moderator and audience


The panelists discussed the role of the MENA region in the BRI informed by their area of expertise. In addition, the attendants questioned/challenged the panelists' arguments.