/ APACCCEEC celebrated 10 years since the establishment of the Initiative for Cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe

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In the period of 4-5 November, 2022, the International Scientific-Practical Conference “10 years of cooperation, exchange and connectivity between China and the CEE countries”, was held in the Rectorate of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”.

The conference was organized jointly with the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, the Faculty of Classical and Modern Philology, the Faculty of Philosophy of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the Agricultural Academy-Sofia, the Institute for State and Law at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.

During the opening session of the Conference in the Aula Hall of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” speeches were made by Prof. Maria Stoicheva, Vice Rector of Sofia University and Chair of the Scientific Committee; Dr. Momchil Stanishev, Director of APACCCEEC and Chair of the Organization Committee; His Excellency Stjepan Mesic, President of Croatia (2000-2010); Mr. Georgi Sabev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Bulgaria; His Excellency Dong Xiaojun, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Bulgaria; Mr. Grigor Porozhanov, Former Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to China; Mr. Dimitrios Michas, Minister Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Greece in Sofia; Mrs. Livia Chivu, Adviser to the Ministry of Agriculture of Romania; Prof. Bojan Lalic, Director of the Serbia Belt and Road Research Institute, as well as Dr. Valentin Katrandziev, Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.

Diplomats and representatives from the diplomatic missions of countries from Central and Eastern Europe, based in Sofia, took part in the conference.

51 abstracts submitted by 65 authors and co-authors from 12 Initiative countries were received for the conference. The conference was broadcast live in Central and Eastern Europe (2,500 viewers) via YouTube and China (5,000 viewers) via Zoom.

A special session was dedicated to good practices and business stories within the Initiative, with presentations from Vinprom Svishtov, the Bulgarian-Chinese Business Development Association, the startup company ONDO and Tablespoon.

The conference covered the following research areas: economic development of the Initiative countries over the last decade; cooperation in the field of agriculture between China and CEE countries; applied research in the field of law, as well as educational and cultural exchange between CEE countries and China.

The conference reviewed the past decade of cooperation between CEE countries and China, facilitating connectivity, development, and investment between Member States. Among the messages shared during the conference was the need to good cooperation to be continued within the Initiative, and the trade relations and educational exchanges to be fostered.

His Excellency Stjepan Mesic (President of Croatia 2000-2010) congratulated all the participants in the International conference and noted that at the moment there are processes of rapprochement between the China-CEE Cooperation Mechanism and the Belt and Road Initiative which are proceeding very effectively, with strong cooperation in all areas being built, through which this has a huge potential to overcome the challenges that are on the agenda.

Among other highlights was that the past decade has been proof that distance does not matter when countries are willing to work together to achieve common goals, with cooperation leading to increased trade, academic and cultural exchange, which deeper ties between societies that are part of the Initiative.

The participants in the forum expressed their gratitude for the opportunity provided by the organizers to present their scientific work and good practices within the framework of the two-day conference.

The presentations from the conference will be uploaded to the page of the APACCCEEC in the Conference 16+1 menu, and the full reports from the Conference will be published in scientific journals in the relevant thematic areas.