In 2012, China approached the countries of Central-Eastern Europe (CEE) with a proposal concerning regional cooperation in the “17+1” format. Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE is a group of countries in Central Europe, Southeast Europe, Northern Europe, and Eastern Europe.
The cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries (China-CEE, also “17+1”) is an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China to promote business and investment relations between China and the 17 CEE countries.
The Secretariat of China and Central and Eastern Europe is in Beijing, PRC with 17 “national coordinators” in each of the CEE partner countries.
“17+1” Summits are held annually – Warsaw, Poland (2012); Bucharest, Romania (2013); Belgrade, Serbia (2014); Suzhou, PRC (2015); Riga, Latvia (2016); Budapest, Hungary (2017); Sofia, Bulgaria (2018); Dubrovnik, Croatia (2019).
The “17+1” Initiative includes the following countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- 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
- Hellenic Republic – member of the European Union
- Hungary – member of the European Union
- Latvia – member of the European Union
- Lithuania – member of the European Union
- North Macedonia
- 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
The cooperation formula helps to coordinate the policy pursued by Beijing towards individual Central-Eastern European countries and set a direction to develop the bilateral relations further. China-CEEC cooperation provides new driving force to China-CEEC traditional friendship and builds a new platform for mutually beneficial cooperation, serves 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 reaffirms 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.