Broadening and deepening the cooperation of China and the 16 Central Eastern European states is the main goal of the China-CEE summit in Budapest.
Hungary is hosting the sixth meeting of heads of government of China and the CEE from Nov. 26-29. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Budapest today. He attends the 16+1 summit on Monday and will hold bilateral official intergovernmental talks on Tuesday.
Previously, the Minister Heading the PM’s Office, Janos Lazar stressed that the countries of the region are aspiring to enter into extensive economic relations with the Far East country that now accounts for an ever larger percentage of the world’s GDP. The minister said: in addition to trade policy, the parties are also seeking to cooperate in the field of development policy, and this is where the details of the Budapest-Belgrade railway line project, too, will be announced, the initial tenders of which will be invited at the end of the month as expected.
“Five years have passed and together, we have made great achievements in policy coordination, economic cooperation, cultural exchanges and many more…fields,”
– Chinese Ambassador to Hungary Duan Jielong said at a recent think tank conference, according to Xinhua.
Calling the current ties between China and the CEEC “at their best in history,” the ambassador highlighted the booming trade and investment between the two sides since the 16+1 cooperation mechanism was established in 2012. Chinese investment in CEEC is now over 9 billion U.S. dollars while CEEC invested 1.4 billion dollars in China. In the first three quarters this year, their trade exceeded 49 billion dollars, marking an increase of 14.5 percent year-on-year. China’s imports from CEEC have risen 21.9 percent.
The two sides have also expanded infrastructure and industrial partnerships, with a number of flagship projects underway. The projects include the Hungary-Serbia high-speed railway, the China-Serbia Friendship Bridge across the Danube in Belgrade, and highway projects in Macedonia and Montenegro.
According to various statements of the Hungarian government, the 16+1 cooperation is very important for the country.
“The Chinese President’s One Belt, One Road strategy represents a major opportunity for Europe, which the continent must exploit”,
– Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto told public media in May at the One Belt, One Road international forum in Beijing.
“In view of the fact that the competitiveness of the European Union is continuously decreasing, it needs strategies that enable the halting of this process and the regaining of competitiveness”,
– said the minister, according to whom “the closest possible relations must be maintained with the world’s most rapidly developing region, the Asian and Southeast Asian region”.
He indicated three concrete goals with relation to the One Belt, One Road strategy: firstly, that as many highly developed Hungarian technologies should be applied in the huge development projects that are being realised in this part of Asia; as many infrastructure development projects and Asia-Europe routes as possible should reach Europe via Hungary, which would also lead to an increase in export opportunities for Hungarian products to Asia; Hungary should be the destination for a significant proportion of the Chinese investments being made in Europe within the framework of the One Belt, One Road strategy.
The old globalisation model is obsolete, “the East has caught up with the West”, and a large part of the world has had enough of developed countries lecturing it on human rights and the market economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at the same event. He stressed that the “One Belt, One Road” is specifically built on mutual acceptance. “There is no teacher and no student”, and everyone has the right to their own social structure, culture, approach and values, he said, quoting the president of China.
We should not be striving to change each other or to form separate alliances, but to accept each other the way we are, and instead link these countries, nations and economies,
– the prime minister said.