“This is not their project, this is European, our money. A Chinese company won the job in a transparent tender but I’m afraid this is the last time they have won a project considering the situation in global relations and geopolitics,” Milanović said.
Pelješac Bridge was built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) which competed for the project against Austria’s Strabag and an Italian-Turkish consortium of bidders.
“I assume the project was an opportunity for the Chinese to enter European space which has now been closed to them for some time, regardless of the fact that they have done a good job. They, too, will have to open up to European companies a little more,” Milanović told reporters.
He added that he was surprised that Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang addressed the Pelješac Bridge inauguration ceremony on Tuesday evening via video link, and that he could not say when the message was recorded.
“Had someone told me three weeks ago that we would be addressed by the prime minister of China, a country supporting Russia in its invasion of Ukraine (…), I would have said ‘Let’s see’. Now that I have seen it, thumbs up, but a little skewed,” he said.
“What happened yesterday is interesting (…) China is not a problem to us the way it is to the USA and some other countries. The fact that we are in NATO does not mean that we blindly follow NATO members’ policy. We won’t rock the boat or bridge too much, but we do have our own interests,” said Milanović.
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