During the current political atmosphere in Europe with rising nationalism and the fact that for the first time in the EUs history a country plans to leave the union, Montenegro and Serbia still face lots of challenges before they will be able to become EU member states. Until then it is likely that they will continue to look for fast and, at least on the first look, uncomplicated and unproblematic financing methods. The low bureaucratic hurdles and the fast implementation of Chinese-backed infrastructure projects will continue to be a lucrative alternative to the funds provided by the EU. That these advantageous parameters are also caused by the bypassing of EU regulations, as well as national laws on tendering, procurement, safety or labor laws are partially circumvented. The 16+1 format could be a good way to coordinate these investment flows across European borders. But it also poses challenges to the cohesion of the EU as a whole through the growing influence of China through its financing activities and a wide range of other soft power activities in the East and Southeast European countries involved in the format.