Reference rates19.08.2019 / 1.1103 / 7.8283
In 2012, China approached the countries of Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) with a proposal concerning regional cooperation in the ‘16+1’ formula. Beijing has decided to create a kind of bridgehead in the region
Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE is a group of countries in Central Europe, Southeast Europe, Northern Europe, and Eastern Europe.
Apart from opening the CEE region up for investments, the ‘16+1’ format was intended to facilitate the shaping of relations between China and the EU and to become a tool in building a positive image for China and the CEE countries. The ‘16+1’ formula include the following countries:
• Bulgaria - member of the European Union
• Croatia - member of the European Union
• Czech Republic - member of the European Union
• Estonia - member of the European Union
• Hungary - member of the European Union
• Latvia - member of the European Union
• Lithuania - member of the European Union
• Poland - member of the European Union
• Romania - member of the European Union
• The Slovak Republic - member of the European Union
• Slovenia - member of the European Union
In 2011, China revived its cooperation with this group of states as a whole. Upon China’s initiative an economic forum was organised in Budapest in 2011. A year later, the first meeting at the level of heads of government was held in Warsaw, marking the official launch of the ‘16+1’ formula. Subsequent rounds of talks between prime ministers were held in Bucharest (2013), Belgrade (2014) and Warsaw (2015). Top-level meetings were complemented by a series of multilateral events of secondary importance, attended by representatives of the CEE states and China. Various initiatives have been organised, including forums focused on economic and investment affairs as well as regional cooperation. Other initiatives include: ministry-level conferences and other events devoted to issues such as tourism, education, agriculture, energy affairs, infrastructure development. The progressing institutionalisation of the ‘16+1’ format resulted in the establishment of a Permanent Secretariat at the Chinese Foreign Ministry (2012), a Permanent Secretariat for Investment Promotion in Warsaw (2014), and several associations and industry organisations coordinated by individual states (e.g. agricultural cooperation is coordinated by Bulgaria, railway transport – by Serbia).
The new cooperation formula will help coordinate the policy pursued by Beijing towards individual Central-Eastern European countries and set a direction to develop bilateral relations further. China-CEEC cooperation has provided new driving force to China-CEEC traditional friendship, built a new platform for mutually beneficial cooperation and served as a new engine for deepening China-Europe relations for mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. China-CEEC cooperation is in line with China-EU relations and reaffirmed the commitment to deepening the partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization based on the principles of equality, respect and trust, thus contributing as appropriate to the implementation of the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.