The Achievements of 16+1 Cooperation in the Latest Five Years
On 20 November 2017 the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade hosted the international conference ‘The Achievements of 16+1 Cooperation in the Latest Five Years’. As a satellite event of the annual summit of ‘16+1’ the conference provides a platform for research institutes from countries participating in the collaboration mechanism. The event offered an opportunity for the 80 experts and journalists attending the conference to share thoughts and experiences regarding the ‘16+1’ formation.
The ‘16+1 Cooperation’ is a trans-regional platform, which was established to enhance the relations between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries. This year’s annual summit of Premiers from the participating countries is going to take place in November in Hungary in line with the decision made during the previous summit in Riga in 2016. The Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade organised the China-CEEC Think Tank Network Conference as a satellite event of this year’s summit.
In his welcoming remarks Ambassador Márton Schőberl, Director of the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade underlined the importance of the conference when declaring: ‘It is of great significance to renew the relationship between China and the participating countries and also to start fruitful dialogue among experts.’ ‘Experiences from participating countries in the latest five years highlight that the initiative is a perfect base for common work and the development of international relations.’ – emphasized Ambassador István Íjgyártó, Minister of State for Cultural and Science Diplomacy in his opening remarks. Duan Jielong, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Hungary underlined that the most significant aspect of cooperation is the shared development and results achieved jointly in the fields of economy, trade, agriculture, tourism and infrastructure development. In his opening speech Dr. Huang Ping, Director-General of the Institute of European Studies and President of China-CEE Institute highlighted that the ‘16+1 Cooperation’ offers opportunity for the participating countries to strengthen ties and exchange experiences not only at a governmental level, but also at the level of enterprises and citizens. He emphasized the devotion of his country to create good relationship with the European Union in order to establish a collaboration of mutual benefit despite substantial diversity.
Following the opening session think tankers in panel discussions agreed on the importance of further development of ‘16+1’ formation and also evaluated the experiences and results of recent years.
Think tankers representing the Central and Eastern European countries evaluated the possibilities of further development of the ‘16+1’ formation in order to build a partnership of mutual benefits. It is anticipated that due to diversity of interests, Central and Eastern Europe will still not participate in the collaboration as unified region, nevertheless common initiatives of smaller groups of countries may contribute to the success of the cooperation mechanism. Cross-border development projects can also contribute to building more success stories related to the ‘16+1 Cooperation’ in the future. Transportation routes are of significant importance in connecting countries and regions, almost all CEE countries are concentrating efforts to create ideal conditions in this field. Expansion of air transportation, the increase in the number of direct flights can also boost the development of relationship between China and the region. Besides strengthening of economic ties the importance of people-to-people relations and cooperation in the field of education has to be underlined as well. These aspects can form the basis of an enhanced cooperation in the future.