Cooperation between China and Croatia key issue

Croatia plans investments in seaports to draw in Chinese exports | wikimedia

Cooperation on different levels is the outcome of a meeting between Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Chinese PM Li Keqiang, which took place in Budapest on Monday on the fringes of the sixth summit of 16 Central and Eastern Europe (CEEC) countries and China.

According to sources, cooperation in tourism, the use of Croatian seaports for Chinese exports, and investing in infrastructure were the key topics of discussion between the two sides.

Plenkovic told reporters after the meeting that Croatia is recording a big rise in the number of Chinese tourists, this year by 60% in relation to 2016, and hopes the 2018 increase from 2016 will be 100%. He added that this was why he was accompanied by Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli.

"We also talked about infrastructure and about investments, notably in the infrastructure of seaports. Croatia is interested in Rijeka, Split, Zadar and Ploce being those European ports to which Chinese exports will gravitate, as well as in investments in the Rijeka infrastructure, on which we have been working continuously," Plenkovic went on to say.

Cooperation in the area of small and medium enterprises is another Croatian priority, he added. "We want a center which would be organized by our economy ministry to be a kind of pool of activity for this initiative."

The Croatian PM also pointed out the cooperation of the 16 CEEC countries and China should not worry Brussels.

Earlier in September 2017, Meng Jianzhu, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, spoke highly of the development of bilateral ties which was established 25 years ago.

China, Meng said, attached great importance to the development of relations with Croatia, and was willing to maintain exchange of high-level officials, align development initiatives and to have more economic and trade cooperation with Croatia by jointly constructing projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Following the meeting on Tuesday, Dario Kuntic, a political analyst, said in a televised interview that China had become a very important economic power whose ambitions are more than regional. "China is exploiting its economic capacities. It is investing huge money in the world and Europe," Kuntic said.