The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the Chinese vision to revive the ancient “Silk Road” by means of massive infrastructure investments and financing. In this context, the attractiveness of Central, East, and Southeast Europe (CESEE) was manifested by the investment in the Port of Piraeus (Greece) and the diplomatic initiative “16+1” comprising 11 European Union (EU) member states and five Western Balkan countries. This forum was extended to a “17+1” framework in 2019 when Greece joined in April. This article sheds light on recent investment and financing activities of China and the EU in CESEE, which are contrasted with the high infrastructure investment needs of the region, especially in the transport sector. In Europe, the Western Balkan countries, which have limited access to EU grants, could profit the most from the BRI, in particular if the EU manages to optimize the complementarity between Chinese and European infrastructure investment plans. However, long-term positive economic effects of the initiative will only materialize if it is implemented in a politically and economically sustainable way.