Saturday

17th Nov 2018

Stakeholder

"16+1" cooperation injects new vigour into China-EU cooperation

  • 16+1 cooperation was initiated by China in 2012 and now includes 11 EU member states and 5 Balkan countries. (Photo: MTI)

On 27 November 2017, the Sixth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries was held in Budapest.

The cooperation between China and the 16 central and eastern European (16+1) countries has grown from strength to strength and increasingly matured over the past five years, as marked by a number of early harvests in the areas of trade, investment, infrastructure, finance, education, tourism and people-to-people exchanges.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"16+1" cooperation has delivered benefits to its members, and has become a highlight of China-Europe cooperation as a whole.

Since I arrived in Brussels, and in fact even before that, I have heard some concerns expressed about the 16+1 cooperation.

Some have called it "divide and rule" tactics by China against the EU. However, such concerns and misunderstandings are totally unfounded if one looks at why China chose to start the 16+1 cooperation in the first place and how China has gone about it ever since.

Supporting European integration

China is always a supporter of European integration. This position is clear-cut and consistent. To divide the EU is not in China's interests. As Chinese President Xi Jinping put it, the 16+1 cooperation is an important part of and useful complement to the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership, and can play a role in promoting China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilisation.

The 16+1 cooperation is transparent, open and inclusive. China welcomes the EU and other relevant parties to get actively involved. The EU has been invited to many activities under the "16+1" framework as an observer.

China respects EU laws and regulations; EU member states participating in 16+1 cooperation also comply with EU laws and policies.

A firm supporter of the European integration process, China wants to see a united EU, a prosperous Europe, and a stable euro. And China's support is backed by concrete actions.

Connecting Asia and Europe

16+1 cooperation and China-Europe cooperation are interconnected.

China-Europe cooperation provides a solid foundation for 16+1 cooperation. As China and Europe work together to synergise the Belt and Road Initiative and the Investment Plan for Europe as well as development strategies of European countries, CEE countries will play a more prominent role as a hub that connects Asia and Europe.

Meanwhile, 16+1 cooperation could serve as a new engine of China-Europe cooperation. In promoting 16+1 cooperation, we are exploring new areas, approaches and practices in light of the industrial features and development needs of CEE countries. In doing so, China-Europe cooperation has been significantly broadened and deepened.

Without 16+1 cooperation, China-Europe relations would not have been so productive and successful.

Tangible outcomes

16+1 cooperation is conducted on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. It benefits CEE countries by diversifying and complementing their existing trade routes and sources of investment and financing. It benefits all its members by promoting economic development and livelihoods through concrete projects.

The past years have seen tangible outcomes of 16+1 cooperation - the Budapest-Belgrade railway, the 16+1 financial holding company, the 16+1 inter-bank consortium, to name just a few.

The 16+1 cooperation also benefits the EU and Europe as a whole as faster development in CEE countries contributes to more balanced development across Europe and European integration. I am confident that the Budapest Summit will produce even more fruitful results.

Ultimately, the 16+1" cooperation is a creative framework which enables countries in different regions and with different social systems to work together. It goes hand-in-hand with China-Europe cooperation and constantly injects new vigour into such cooperation.

With that, China, CEE countries and the EU will become better off together.

H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming is head of the Chinese Mission to the EU.

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Focus

China's 'new era' means balance with EU

Under Xi Jinping's second term as leader, China wants more equality with the US and the EU, while waiting for Europeans to show their global clout.

Focus

China's 16+1 foray into Central and Eastern Europe

Half a decade after it was launched, the network of cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries has brought uneven economical and political fruits so far.

Opinion

Why the EU doesn't get China's Belt and Road

It is not enough for European officials to simply tell the press that they do not understand the Belt and Road – the vision is clear enough, the point is to decide how to engage with it.

Focus

Hungary-Serbia railway launched at China summit

The flagship project of China's increased presence in central and eastern Europe was launched on Tuesday, following an EU probe as a summit in Budapest raises questions on Beijing's influence.

News in Brief

  1. US warns EU banks and firms against trading with Iran
  2. Merkel urged Romania not to move embassy to Jerusalem
  3. Protesters call for Czech leader to step down
  4. Former German chancellor labelled 'enemy' of Ukraine
  5. French lead opposition to Brexit deal on fisheries
  6. Private accounts of Danske Bank employees investigated
  7. UK's May defends Brexit deal to MPs, after ministers resign
  8. Brexit MP calls for 'no confidence' vote on May

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Latest News

  1. Brexit dominates EU affairs This WEEK
  2. How the EU commission got tunnel vision on self-driving cars
  3. No-confidence calls against May put Brexit deal in doubt
  4. Key points of the Brexit deal (if it ever comes into effect)
  5. Romania heaps scorn on 'revolting' EU criticism
  6. US steps in to clean up Cyprus
  7. 'Decisive progress' on Brexit as British cabinet backs deal
  8. Asylum for Macedonia's ex-PM puts Orban on spot

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  3. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  5. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  7. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  9. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  10. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us