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Datum objave: 13.04.2019

The speech of the PM Plenković at the 8th Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries and China

Let me welcome you in Dubrovnik as we open the eight Meeting of the Heads of Governments of China and Central and Eastern European Countries

The speech of the PM Plenković at the 8th Summit of Central and Eastern European Countries and China

Opening remarks

Meeting of Heads of Governments of China and Central and Eastern European Countries

Dubrovnik, Croatia 12 April 2019

 Prime Minister of the Republic of Croatia

H.E. Andrej Plenković

Dear Premier Li,

Distinguished Prime Ministers of the CEEC,

Honorable Ministers, Observers,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 Let me welcome you in Dubrovnik as we open the eight Meeting of the Heads of Governments of China and Central and Eastern European Countries.

We meet once a year to reflect upon deliverables of 16+1 Cooperation and to set new and ambitious goals for future cooperation between our countries.

There is growing interest in 16+1 Cooperation which only proves that this cooperation is active, productive and results oriented.

There is a number of countries interested in getting observer status, and also becoming full members.

Croatia believes the 16+1 Cooperation should be open and inclusive, and in this regard we are glad that here in Dubrovnik we will be welcoming Greece to join us and to become the full member of the 16+1

family or – should I say – of the 17+1 family. 

Since its inauguration, our Cooperation has grown into an inseparable part of our bilateral cooperation with China and a valuable contribution to overall Europe–China and EU–China relations.

The significance and scope of the 16+1 format is growing in all fields of cooperation and the Government of Croatia fully supports it generating even more results-oriented projects.

I think we can all agree that China’s economic weight and growth is very important in helping the forward momentum of the global economy.

All of us around this table are looking at new modalities of how to better integrate the economies of the two sides and generate more job opportunities.

Although the numbers can always be better, all in all we must acknowledge that in quite short time since 2012, the 16+1 Cooperation has formed new ties and generated concrete results.

Croatia believes that the EU, the CEEC countries, China and the whole of Asia could benefit from more infrastructure links between China and us.

For this reason Croatia supports more intensive dialogue on the EU–China Connectivity Platform.

We encourage all countries of the 16+1 Cooperation to work on expanding connectivity routes between China and Central and Eastern Europe.

Connectivity will strengthen ties between businesses, increase trade and tourism as well as people-to-people contacts.

In this regard I am pleased to announce that Croatia will be the host of the Fifth China–CEEC Transport Ministers' Meeting in 2020.

We cannot talk about connectivity and infrastructure without mentioning the symbol of Croatian and Chinese cooperation: the Pelješac Bridge.

The Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation won the international tender for the construction of this vitally important infrastructure project in Croatia.

This bridge is crucial for physically connecting Croatia along its southern part but it is also important to note that this project is being financed by EU funds in line with EU standards and regulations.

We are indeed building a new bridge through openness, innovation and partnership, echoing the theme of our Summit this year.

Tourism is another branch of industry of growing importance in our relationship with China.

In 2018 we welcomed a quarter of a million Chinese tourists and in 2019 the positive growth of Chinese arrivals is continuing.

As it was shared in Dubrovnik last year, when our ministers of tourism met, there are already 1.7 million visits between the Central and Eastern European countries and China.

Thus, our people-to-people links are truly growing stronger.

In addition, I am pleased that Croatia is the lead of the 16+1 Coordination mechanism for small and medium size enterprises: we just launched its website at the Business forum.

The SME Coordination mechanism will serve as a useful new platform for 16+1 SME’s with the aim of increasing the output of our SME’s in the overall trade volume between our countries and China.

I am pleased that attendance of the Business forum was exemplary, and we regret that we could not accept all the interested companies who wanted to attend.

That clearly shows that our companies, including our SME’s, are continuously seeking ways of how to offer more goods and services on the Chinese market.

According to the latest data, trade between the Central and Eastern European countries and China increased by 21% on year and reached 82 billion US dollars in 2018.

China invested 10 billion US dollars and received 1.5 billion US dollars.

With this, dear Colleagues, once again I would like to thank you for coming to Croatia and for attending the Dubrovnik 16+1 Summit.

Let’s join efforts into making this great mechanism even more successful.


Prime Minister of China

Premier hails bridge of cooperation in Croatia

Premier Li Keqiang and his Croatian counterpart, Andrej Plenkovic, visited the construction site for the Peljesac Bridge on the Peljesac Peninsula in southern Croatia on April 11.

The project is not only the largest infrastructure project undertaken by Chinese enterprises in Croatia, but also the first major project in the European Union (EU) acquired by Chinese enterprises through global bidding, which is funded by EU and abides by EU rules.


China offers to increase imports from Belgium

Premier Li expects Croatia’s Peljesac Bridge to be peaceful and safe

Premier Li exchanges gifts with Croatian prime minister

Can Croatia act as a bridge connecting China and Europe?

After attending the 21st China-EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels, Premier Li Keqiang continues his Europe tour with an official visit to Croatia – both a member state of the European Union and a participant in the cooperation mechanism between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). Premier Li will also take part in the annual China-CEEC summit in Dubrovnik, a city on Croatia’s Adriatic coast.

Premier Li’s Europe tour comes just two weeks after President Xi Jinping’s visits to Italy, Monaco and France. Both leaders chose Europe as the destination of their first overseas trips this year, highlighting the importance that China attaches to its ties with Europe.

Situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe as well as the Mediterranean, Croatia has a major role to play in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and in connecting Europe with China more closely.

A natural bridge

Premier Li’s visit is the first ever by a Chinese premier to Croatia since the establishment of diplomatic ties, “consolidating traditional friendship and advancing comprehensive cooperative partnership between the two sides” will be a major task during the visit as Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Chao said at a press briefing.

During Premier Li’s visit, China and Croatia will issue a joint statement summarizing any important consensus reached by their leaders and mapping out future cooperation; the two sides will sign government cooperation documents and commercial contracts covering multiple sectors, according to Wang.




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