The second day of the 16 + 1 Summit, which is being held in Dubrovnik, featured a plenary session that included the leaders of central and eastern European countries and China. The leaders adopted guidelines (the “Dubrovnik Guidelines”) that will inform the operations of the initiative for the period until the next summit. The guidelines address cooperation in several areas, such as trade, agriculture, finance, healthcare, science and forestry. Before the plenary session, the leaders also attended the official opening of the business forum that is being held in parallel with the summit, and which is also being attended by representatives of various Slovenian firms.
In his address to the plenary session, Slovenian PM Marjan Šarec noted the importance of the results that are already being shown in practice as a result of cooperation in the 16 + 1 initiative. He commended the joint declaration on relations between the EU and China, which calls for further strengthening of the strategic partnership between the EU and China, and which was finalised at the recent EU-China summit in Brussels. “This is a reflection of the will of two major economic powers to develop open economic relations, which is a prerequisite for the wellbeing of all.”
At the summit, the prime minister recalled that Slovenia has officially assumed the coordination of cooperation in the area of forestry, which has also proved to be an excellent platform for promoting trade, exchanges of professional knowledge and technological cooperation, and thus for contributing to sustainable forest management. He added that Slovenia, with its infrastructure capacities for summer and winter sports and large number of professionals, would also like to contribute to the 16 + 1 initiative in the area of sport.
“Slovenia is determined to take on a leading role in the development of infrastructure as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Furthermore, the route through the Port of Koper is the shortest path to the markets of central and eastern Europe,” said the PM.
China is Slovenia’s largest foreign trade partner in Asia. Due to increased cooperation with China, as well as cooperation within the framework of the 16 + 1 initiative, bilateral trade between Slovenia and China has increased by more than 15% annually since 2013.
The key features of the joint projects between Slovenian and Chinese partners are their high-tech orientation and the fact that the market activities are taking place in both countries. The Prime Minister mentioned opportunities for cooperation in various areas, such as manufacturing parts for electric vehicles, high-tech IT, aviation technology and the pharmaceuticals industry. The PM also expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the Chinese-Slovenian Winter Sports Forum in Beijing in November 2018, which featured academics, corporates, sports organisations and the Olympic committees of both countries.
At the summit, Prime Minister Šarec also expressed support for the newest member of the 16 + 1 initiative, Greece, stating that Greece’s full membership will provide additional possibilities and opportunities for cooperation within the framework of the initiative.