Plenković: China’s Aid Helped Save Many Lives at Start of Pandemic

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The initiative, launched in 2012 with a view to boosting Chinese investment in Europe, held its last summit in Dubrovnik 2019 when it was joined by Greece. Live meetings were postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Addressing the video conference, Plenković said that China+17 was a unique initiative building bridges between Europe and Asia, adding that it was 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.

Plenković 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.

The Croatian prime minister said 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, Plenković said.

In this context he cited the Pelješac 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.

Plenković 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.

Plenković 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.


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