China Accepts European Principles In Pursue Of Belt And Road Into Europe

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker pose with hinese Minister of State Administration of Market Regulation Zhang Mao, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, Zhang Jianhua, Chinese Minister of Energy and European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete after the signing ceremony at a EU-China Summit in Brussels, Belgium, April 9, 2019. (Photo: Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via REUTERS)

Croatian ambassador to Beijing, Dario Mihelin, said that China needs to accept European Union key principles as it seeks to influence the Central and Eastern Europe through its Belt and Road Initiative. The ambassador included non-discrimination, a level playing field for businesses, peace, security, and human rights and developments as the key principles to be respected by China.

Mr. Mihelin said that these are all tremendously important principles in relations between the European Union and China and bilateral relations with European Union member states with China.

The China and its cooperation with the Central and Eastern European Countries (China- CEEC), also known as the "16+1" initiative, is always referred by the media as a "high ground of cooperation" under the Belt and Road Initiative of Chinese President Xi Jinping. It is China's way to expand its influence in the heart of Europe.

Critics are concerned, however, on the growing trade deficit of the region with China. Some believe that China-CEEC will fail to generate economic boost and to attract Chinese investment participants in the region.

Premier Li Keqiang said during the 16+1 summit in Croatia earlier this month that China will speed up the process of opening its markets and he assured that they will purchase more products from the region as he tries to allay the concerns brought by critics of the Built and Road.

The members of the 16+1 summit are 11 European Union members including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Slovenia, and five non-European Union States that includes Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, and North Macedonia. Greece, a European Union member, also announced that they plan to join the 16 + 1 initiative.

The current summit stressed the need for China to have a "level playing field" for investments. It is one of the key demands of the 16 European states in their negotiations with the Asian economic giant and it was also included in the statement issued after the summit between the European Union and China earlier this week.

The Croatian ambassador said that the principles are important for both members and non-members of the bloc since the 16+1 forum was complementary to the overall cooperation between China and Brussels.

He also said that the remaining five participants among the Central and Eastern European countries are not European Union member states but are candidate countries with different degrees of closeness to European Union membership.

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