|Plenkovic about cooperation with China: Croatia is focused on infrastructure, science and innovation|
|9th February 2021|
|ZAGREB - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Tuesday attended a virtual meeting of the China+17 initiative, thanking the Chinese authorities for their assistance in providing protective equipment at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.|
The initiative, launched in 2012 with goal of boosting Chinese investment in Europe, held its last summit in Dubrovnik 2019 when it was joined by Greece. Live meetings were postponed afterwards because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Addressing the video conference, Plenkovic said that China+17 was a unique initiative building bridges between Europe and Asia, complementary to the European Union.
He thanked the Chinese leadership for prompt assistance with protective gear at the start of the pandemic, which helped save many lives. “I must say how useful this framework of cooperation was when the pandemic broke out,” he added.
Plenkovic said that solidarity would be needed to ensure vaccines for the whole world, which would be the key to bringing the pandemic to an end, adding that cooperation between China and Europe would provide an opportunity for a speedy and strong recovery of the two sides in the time ahead.
In this regard, Croatia is particularly focused on infrastructure, science and innovation, as well as tourism, mobility, and small and medium enterprises. Croatia supports a free market with a level playing field, reciprocity in access to markets, sustainable development and the fight against climate change, Plenkovic said.
In this context he cited the Peljesac Bridge project, which is financed by the EU and built by a Chinese company, and the NORINCO wind energy project, the largest Chinese investment in clean energy at Senj in Croatia, due to be completed by the end of 2021.
Plenkovic said that after a successful agreement on exports of Croatian dairy products to China he was hoping for a similar agreement for meat, fish and honey producers.
He said that Zagreb and Ljubljana would conclude an agreement this year on establishing a 17+1 sports centre under which Croatia would become a centre for summer sports and Slovenia for winter sports.
Plenkovic also thanked China for showing solidarity and providing assistance to Croatia after last year’s earthquakes, and expressed his best wishes for the Chinese new year, which is celebrated on 12 February.