The TV Forum “Dialogue with Central and Eastern Europe: ‘17+1’ Cooperation” Held Successfully

CRI Online: On July 15, 2020, the TV forum “Dialogue with Central and Eastern Europe: ‘17+1’ Cooperation”, planned and produced by the European and Latin American Language Program Center of CCTV, was successfully held through online video.

“Dialogue with Central and Eastern Europe: ‘17+1’ Cooperation” connects experts and scholars from China, Serbia, Hungary, Albania, and Greece through the host of the Beijing studio. They had in-depth discussions on topics such as pragmatic cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe, the new opportunities brought by the “Belt and Road” initiative, and global governance after COVID-19 outbreak.

During the program, the distinguished scholars from the five countries noted that the “17+1 Cooperation” mechanism provides a platform for exchanges and cooperation between China and CEE countries, and has achieved fruitful results in scientific research, infrastructure construction and other fields. China’s investment in CEE countries has benefited many parties and should not be subject to criticism. This is an effective cooperation measure chosen by China and CEE countries.       The “Belt and Road” initiative has brought more opportunities and choices to CEE countries and promoted the development of the world’s multipolarity. Some developed countries in the West should abandon the Cold War mentality and actively participate in the global governance after COVID-19 epidemic.

George Zogopoulos, a scholar at the International Center for European Studies in Greece, said that China’s investment in the port of Piraeus in Greece has promoted the interconnection between Greece, the Balkans and Central and Eastern Europe. The opportunity of upgrading from “16 + 1” to “17 + 1” has provided a mechanism guarantee for this cooperation in Greece.

Marcela Mousabeliu, director of the Albanian Institute of Globalization, said: “I think it is very important that Albania and China have found common interests. We should better understand and accept each other by strengthening exchanges and communication from the leadership level to the expert level.”

Ivanara, director of the “Belt and Road” Regional Research Center of the Serbian Institute of International Political Economy, said that CEE countries hope to strengthen cooperation with China, and the “17+1 cooperation” platform also makes the foundation for our cooperation with peers more stable.

Victor Estehaj, a senior researcher at the Hungarian Foundation for Innovation and Geopolitics, pointed out that only by participating in the “Belt and Road” initiative can we better plan for it and realize it, instead of questioning it from the outside. Therefore, it is important for the EU to find a more constructive way to participate in the “Belt and Road” initiative.



Ding Yifan, a researcher at the World Development Institute of the Development Research Center of the State Council of China, said that China hopes to repair the WTO-based cooperation mechanism severely damaged by the United States. Global governance after the epidemic is still unclear, but China has been working hard to consolidate the existing cooperation mechanisms.

“17+1 cooperation” is a cross-regional cooperation platform based on the common aspirations of China and CEE countries. It consists of China, 16 CEECs and Greece, which joined in 2019. The mechanism aims to promote trade and investment between China and CEE countries, adhering to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, promoting the infrastructure construction of Central and Eastern European countries, and realizing the docking of the “Belt and Road” initiative with the development strategies of various countries. Since its inception in 2012, the “17+1 Cooperation” has established cooperation mechanisms in 20 fields and achieved early gains and important results, building a comprehensive, multi-level, and wide-area three-dimensional structure. Over the past eight years, trade growth between China and CEE countries has exceeded 50%, and China’s investment in Central and Eastern European countries has increased from US$3 billion in the initial period of cooperation to US$12.6 billion. A large number of cooperation projects, such as the Hungary-Serbia Railway, the Port of Piraeus, and the Pelješac Bridge, have made important contributions to the promotion of local economic and social development.

Previously, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the China-CEEC summit, originally planned to be held in China this year, had been postponed due to the epidemic.

“Dialogue with Central and Eastern Europe: ‘17+1’ Cooperation” will be broadcast on various media platforms of CCTV in the near future.

(Source: CRI Online)