Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 1–2, pp 143–158 | Cite as

A Faustian bargain or just a good bargain? Chinese foreign direct investment and politics in Europe

  • Sophie MeunierEmail author
Original Paper


This article explores the political challenges posed by the recent influx of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) into the European Union (EU), which has become in 2011 the top destination for Chinese investment in the world. The central political question facing European states welcoming the influx of Chinese capital is whether this is a good bargain—a positive-sum game where both investor and investee benefit—or instead a Faustian bargain—a zero-sum game in the long term where capital is accompanied by implicit conditionality affecting European norms and policies, from human rights to labor laws. The novelty of Chinese FDI has the potential to affect politics in Europe in three different venues: inside European countries, between European countries, and between Europe and third countries. This article, whose main goal is to launch a research agenda on the political implications of Chinese FDI, explores in turn its potential impact on foreign and domestic policy, institutional process within the EU, and transatlantic relations.


European Union Foreign Direct Investment Foreign Investment European Union Country Outward Foreign Direct Investment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Many thanks to Brian Burgoon, Adeline Hinderer, Wade Jacoby, Justin Knapp, Stephen Kobrin, Jing Men, Werner Pascha, and Herman Schwarz for comments on an earlier version of this paper, as well as to the participants to the workshops on “The politics of hosting Chinese investment in Europe” held at the University of Amsterdam, June 29–30, 2012 and at Princeton University, November 2–3, 2012.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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