|Plenkovic to attend Sofia summit to boost ties with China|
|Author: CSEBA / N1 info|
|6th July 2018|
|SOFIA - The leaders of Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) will attend the seventh 16+1 summit in Sofia on Saturday aimed at expanding their cooperation with China. Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenkovic, is expected to use the occasion to strengthen the country's relations with one of the world's largest and fastest growing economies.|
Plenkovic will participate in the conference with the heads of government of ten other European Union countries, along with five country candidates for EU membership, stretching from the Baltic to the Balkans.
Attending will be officials of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. China will be represented by Premier Li Kequiang.
At the previous summit held in Budapest in November 2017, Plenkovic said that this platform was important for the positioning of Croatia in relation to China. He said that Croatia's interests in economic cooperation with China were mainly in the sectors of infrastructure, maritime transport, and tourism.
At a recent minister-level meeting of CEEC countries and China in the Chinese city of Ningbo, Chinese officials expressed interest in investing in the seaports of Zadar and Rijeka, while Croatia said it wished to launch a direct airline route connecting Croatia with China.
By far the largest Chinese project in the country so far is the Peljesac Bridge, worth 2.08 billion kuna, excluding VAT, signed in April with the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) consortium, with 85 percent of the cost paid via EU funding.
Apart from the summit of heads of state and prime ministers, the event in Sofia will also include a business forum attended by more than 250 Chinese companies and some 700 businesspeople from central and eastern Europe.