|Dubrovnik Summit is the biggest foreign policy event organized in Croatia|
|Author: CSEBA / SEEbiz|
|6th April 2019|
|ZAGREB - Croatia-China relations have intensified in recent years, notably through the 16+1 format in which the heads of state or government of Central and Eastern European Counties (CEEC) and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang will meet in Dubrovnik on 11 and 12 April.|
It is the largest foreign policy event organized in Croatia.
China, a world force with more than 1.3 billion people, has been investing more in Central and Southeast Europe in recent years. The 16 plus 1 initiative is an integral part of its megaproject "One Belt One Way" - the Contemporary Silk Road and one of the most ambitious projects in the world.
The idea of a platform for cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) was born after their first Economic-Trade Forum in 2011 in Budapest.
Although voices were persistently heard that on initiative 16 plus 1 Brussels did not look with great approval, Chinese Prime Minister Li repeated several times that 16 plus 1 was not a geopolitical platform and emphasized that the initiative would remain "open and inclusive" for other partners, any country or institution.
The Croatian side points out that relations with China build on three pillars, bilateral, then within the EU-China Dialogue, in the format of 16 plus 1
The summit in Croatia encompasses two of these three dimensions, bilaterally and multilaterally, since Li first comes to a bilateral visit to Zagreb and then to a multilateral meeting in Dubrovnik.
In the 16 plus 1 initiative, 11 countries of the European Union and five candidate countries and potential candidates are Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, . There are also six observers: Austria, Belarus, Greece, Switzerland, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European External Action Service.
Prime Minister Li arrives in Croatia after the summit of the EU and China, which was held in Brussels recently. Chinese-European economic exchange per day amounts to more than a billion euros, making Europe the largest trading Chinese partner. China is the second largest market for European goods and services behind the US.
It arrives in Zagreb on Tuesday night with a delegation that will count about 250 members, and in Dubrovnik will be joined by more than three hundred businessmen. The Chinese delegation is accompanied by seventy journalists.
Despite the fact that so far Zagreb hosted a large number of world statesmen, including the host of the Zagreb summit in 2000, a summit in Dubrovnik in 16 countries and China's government sources referred to as "the most pre-eminent foreign policy event held in Croatia since independence", and one of the "most logistical and organizational most demanding events, but also politically important in the development of bilateral relations between Croatia and China".
On April 10, he meets in Zagreb with Prime Minister Plenković, President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Gordan Jandrokovic, President of the Parliament. Two Prime Ministers will sign "a number of bilateral treaties from different roles", announced a source from the Croatian government.
Before the start of the summit in Dubrovnik, the Chinese prime minister will visit the Pelješac Bridge building, which is being built by the Chinese company China Road and Bridge Corporation, on April 11th. Croatia is funded by the extensive assistance of European funds.