On the afternoon of November 5, 2016 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended the 5th Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) at the National Library of Latvia in Riga. Leaders of 16 Central and Eastern European countries attended the summit, along with the EU, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Belarus and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as observers.
Li Keqiang stated that during the G20 Hangzhou Summit held in September this year, broad consensus was reached on moving “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy”, which has offered new ideas on uplifting the world economy and deepening international cooperation. The “16+1 cooperation” mechanism is a creative endeavor made by China and the CEEC to further friendship and cooperation. Since the Suzhou Summit last year, we have implemented the 1+6 cooperation framework in an all-round manner guided by the Midterm Plan on China-CEEC Cooperation. By upholding openness and inclusiveness and making solid progress, much has been achieved in this regard. Over 50 measures set out in the Suzhou Guidelines for China-CEEC Cooperation have basically been carried out.
Li Keqiang pointed out that the “16+1 cooperation” is a positive factor for world peace and development, as well as a part of and beneficial supplement to China-EU cooperation, which is conducive to advancing the four major China-EU partnerships and the construction of the five major platforms as well as contributes to the balanced development of Europe and the European integration process.
Li Keqiang emphasized that the “16+1 cooperation” should stick to the prevailing trend of economic globalization. We should actively boost the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, keep the market open to each other, deepen regional economic cooperation, and jointly oppose trade and investment protectionism, so as to not only add momentum to self-development but also contribute to world economic recovery.
Li Keqiang expressed that the theme of the summit, “Connectivity, Innovation, Inclusiveness and Common Development”, is both timely and relevant. Li Keqiang made following suggestions for the future development of “16+1 cooperation”:
The first is to deepen cooperation on infrastructure and connectivity. China encourages reputable and competent enterprises to, through such forms as project contracting and PPP, participate in the construction of highway networks, port networks, power grids and Internet development of the CEEC. China stands ready to advance the construction of the Budapest-Belgrade railway and China-Europe Land-Sea Express, support the construction of transport corridors between Asia and Europe, and set up more logistic centers in the CEEC, so as to further enhance the CEEC’s role as a transport hub on the Eurasian Land Bridge.
The second is to enhance financial cooperation to solidify the foundation for “16+1 cooperation”. At the Business Forum earlier in the afternoon, I announced the official establishment of the China-CEEC Financial Holding Company. China has signed Memorandums of Understanding with Poland and the Czech Republic on making financial contributions, and other Central and Eastern European countries are most welcome to take part. China supports to expand cooperation on local currency settlement, as well as supports financial institutions including the Silk Road Fund to, through diverse forms such as equity and bonds, provide financing for “16+1 cooperation” projects.
The third is to explore cooperation on green economy. China is willing to work with the CEEC to explore joint demonstration projects like processing bases of agricultural products and encourage cooperation on green agriculture between provinces and cities in China and the CEEC. China is also willing to step up cooperation on environmental protection, and expand the joint development of clean energy like wind electricity and solar energy.
The fourth is to further intensify people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation. We should fully exploit educational, cultural, tourism, health, local, youth and other cooperation mechanisms. This year is the Year of 16+1 People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges. China and the CEEC have held colorful activities. China supports the early establishment of a “16+1” coordination center on cultural cooperation, and will invite young people from the CEEC to receive training in China. It is hoped that the CEEC can adopt more visa facilitation measures and special arrangements for Chinese tourists. China supports designating 2017 as the Year of China-CEEC Media Cooperation.
Attending CEEC leaders expressed that the “16+1 cooperation” moves forward at a steady pace with vitality and remarkable achievements. The CEEC stand ready to, together with China, tap cooperation potential, enhance the capacity of mechanism building, stick to the parallel development of economic and people-to-people and cultural cooperation, deepen cooperation in infrastructure, production capacity, trade, finance, agriculture, technology and other areas, expand new cooperation patterns such as e-commerce, and expand local cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges in technology, culture, education, health care, tourism and other areas, so as to realize connectivity, mutual benefit and win-win results, and push forward the mutual improvement and continuous development of CEEC-China relations and EU-China strategic partnership.
After the summit, China and the 16 Central and Eastern European countries jointly issued the Riga Guidelines for China-CEEC Cooperation and a joint statement on developing cooperation in infrastructure and equipment in the three port areas. Leaders of all countries jointly witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements between China and the 16 countries, covering various areas including connectivity, production capacity cooperation, infrastructure construction, people-to-people and culture exchanges, human resource and civil aviation cooperation.
(This article is published on the official website of Chinese Foreign Ministry)