China is now heavily endorsing its big investment flow in the Central Eastern European (CEE) countries

Slawomir Majman_ConnectEUChina Investment Forum_Committe of Regions

The panel speech was moderated by Dr Duncan Freeman, Brussels Academy for China and European Studies of the Vrije Universities Brussel (VUB). The stimulating panel discussion was lit up by Mr Gu Hui, Councellor at the Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr Olivier Onidi, Director of DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, Mr Slawomir Majman, President of Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, HE Ambassador Harry Alex Rusz, Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Mrs Wei Li, Operations Director at China-CEE Investment Cooperation Fun and last but not least Mr Richard Turcsanyi, Associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies.

Last Monday, 09 November 2015, a very important conference was held at the Committee of Regions in Brussels called: “China-Europe Investment and Connectivity Cooperation Forum”. Certainly one of the most stimulating panel discussions was on the Chinese Investment in Central Eastern European Countries (CEEC). It turns out that China is endorsing a huge and independent investment batch in this 16 country block that is shaping infrastructure, energy, transportation, employment and so many other fields in those countries. To be noted here that CEEC is comprised by Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia.

The panel speech was moderated by Dr Duncan Freeman from the Brussels Academy for China and European Studies of the Vrije Universities Brussel (VUB). The stimulating panel discussion was lit up by Mr Gu Hui, Councellor at the Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, Mr Olivier Onidi, Director of DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, Mr Slawomir Majman, President of Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, HE Ambassador Harry Alex Rusz, Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU, Mrs Wei Li, Operations Director at China-CEE Investment Cooperation Fund and last but not least Mr Richard Turcsanyi, Associate at the European Institute for Asian Studies.

16+1 Cooperation

Mr Gu Hui was the first speaker to address the audience emphasising how the China CEEC relations (16+1) is a platform for mutual beneficial cooperation that unfortunately not everybody knows about. In fact, the Chinese senior councellor sees China and CEEC as “truly old friends”, as he stressed in his speech. The main driving force to China-CEEC cooperation, he later added, is economic cooperation. He also interestingly said that there is a perfect match in this relation as China is a developing country and CEEC represents the emerging economies in Europe. The truth is that China and CEEC are undergoing a “crucial transition period” currently. What is more, Mr Gu stressed that CEEC possess huge means for infrastructure construction, underscoring thus that the two economies are in fact “complimentary”.

The Suzhou Summit

In addition, the Chinese official showed his keen admiration and respect for the common commitment of the 16 CEE leaders so far. He reminded to the audience as well that the next meeting for 16+1 cooperation platform will be held soon in Suzhou, China. The aim of the Summit will be to sum up the cooperation’s progress so far and explore further fruitful projects in 2016. As the rest of the panelists and participants of the Forum last Monday, Mr Gu did not omit to mention how important the One Belt One Road is for CEEC and how this strategic Chinese programme aims to deploy various projects within CEEC. The upcoming Suzhou summit is bound to be a “milestone” for the 16+1 cooperation, according to the Chinese official. Finally, Mr Gu, eager to give the floor to the rest of his fellow panelists, he closed with a brilliant phrase taken from Confucius, the famous Chinese ancient philosopher: “Do not worry that your opinion has not been heard; do worry if you have not heard the others’ opinions”.

EU’s role at 16+1 cooperation

The EU was represented in this fruitful panel by Mr Olivier Onidi, Director of DG Mobility and Transport at the European Commission. The Commission’s top official opened his speech by saying that China-EU transport and infrastructure cooperation is not only of economic but also of geopolitical interest. He further underlined that the new connectivity platform is an additional tool for the China-EU cooperation, since no meticulous exchange of information is needed and optimal decisions are made based on best practices. Like this the conditions of investment, he added, are improved by raising barriers and expanding the cooperation in technology, infrastructure and transport. Mr Onidi was adamant in his belief that the China-EU investment cooperation platform will be a major source of business opportunities in EU and China and will create equal opportunities of growth through the whole one belt one road route.

“The hub of China-EU trade”

It was then time for probably the best example of CEEC, Poland to lead the discussion. Mr Slawomir Majman, President of Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, embarked on sharing his interesting thoughts about one country that is able to design an deploy an effective investment strategy in order to to bring it to the creme de la creme of investment destinations in the EU, Poland. As expected, Mr Majman initiated his speech by stating that Poland has a crucial role on CEE, the most rapidly developing region in the EU. Most interestingly he continued praising the importance of the “One belt one road” strategy, by commenting that from a unilateral diplomacy there has been a transition to a multilateral diplomacy. Moreover, he did not hesitate to describe it as a “Chinese Marshall Plan”, as China’s presence along the silk road enable the full potential of its export markets. Focusing on the logistic dimension of what One Belt One Road means for Poland, Mr Majman said that “Poland aspires to be the  hub of China-EU trade”.

The Polish official later praised how China has a long term vision towards Europe. On the other hand, Poland is willing to see “large and bold projects of Chinese capital”, Mr Majman underscored. He further critically cited that the “atmosphere is good” but there is just 0,02% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the EU. He reassured the audience, however, that “politicians do their job properly”; it is businesses who lag behind. Again, China according to Mr Majman is doing very well building export markets along the silk road and thus boost the trade capacities of the second biggest economy in the world. He finally concluded his thoughts on the matter by stressing that “the future of cooperation of this part of the world with China (CEEC) is a regional one”.

China & Hungary

It was the turn of another important CEEC country then, Hungary, to highlight the important trade and investment ties it maintains with China. The Hungarian panelist was HE Ambassador of the Permanent Representation of Hungary to EU, Mr Harry Alex Rusz. The Hungarian Ambassador, agreeing fully with HE Ambassador Yang‘s of the Chinese Mission to EU opening remarks, and talked very enthusiastically about the 16+1 CEEC cooperation and economic development framework. He later said that Hungary has seen its economy catching up thanks to Chinese tourism and also thanks to the bilateral comprehensive financial cooperation.

500 million dollar Chinese Investment

Finally, the audience was pleasantly surprised to see that there is an independent China-CEE Investment Cooperation Fund created, which is taking care only the Chinese investment deployment for the 16 country region. Mrs Wei Li, Operations Director, took soon the floor and launched an engaging presentation with hard data on specific investment projects in the CEE region. It was very encouraging to see the status of every investment project clearly defined and described, from the Investment bank accountable to the yearly investment flow planning.

The major takeaway

All in all, the panel on China and CEEC (16+1) cooperation was definitely one of the most stimulating ones during the China-Europe Investment & Connectivity Cooperation Forum. The quality of the dialogue remained high and fruitful. It is very positive to see how China is extending and focusing at the same time its One belt One road strategy to specific blocks. CEE is a particular case that seems very positive to accommodate considerable chunks of large investment from China.

If only more neighbouring CEE countries with significant geopolitical power and certainly rich natural resources, like Greece, could join CEE immediately. That would contribute substantially both to the recovery of the demolished Greek economy and certainly it would do miracles to the smooth distribution of Chinese investment in Greece.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Parliament and Council agree drastic cuts to plastic pollution of environment

OECD Secretary-General statement on Europe Day

3 steps to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in the digital age

DR Congo elections: ‘historic opportunity’ for ‘peaceful transfer of power’ says Security Council

At COP24, countries agree concrete way forward to bring the Paris climate deal to life

Will the outcome of the UK referendum “calm” the financial markets?

Yemen: ‘No justification for this carnage,’ says UNICEF chief, as children in need now outnumber population of Switzerland

Protectionism doesn’t stand a chance in the age of connectivity

Who is to profit from the quasi announced ECB rate cut?

EU and China to do more in common if the global scene gets worse

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

India is investing more money in solar power than coal for first time

Could Rwanda become Africa’s healthcare leader?

Coronavirus fears may have driven over 300,000 UK smokers to quit

Is Eurozone heading towards a long stagnation?

Measles claims more than twice as many lives than Ebola in DR Congo

Violence in North and West Africa increasingly targeting civilian and border areas – OECD/SWAC

Who really cares for the environment?

Emotional control and introspectivity in times of pandemic

What Keynes can teach us about government debt today

Rule of law in Poland and Hungary has worsened

Failing to agree climate action would ‘not only be immoral’ but ‘suicidal’, UN chief tells COP24

Young and unemployed the perfect victims of ‘vultures’

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Stepped-up efforts needed to combat pneumonia; save nearly nine million children’s lives

FROM THE FIELD: Saving the tree kangaroos of Papua New Guinea

For Africa, ‘winds of hope are blowing ever stronger,’ Guterres declares at conference on development

Advancing multilateralism goes ‘hand-in-hand’ with work of the UN

What does reimagining our energy system look like?

Fact-checking Day: Fighting the virus of disinformation on Covid-19

EU Budget: A Reform Support Programme and an Investment Stabilisation Function to strengthen Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union

India’s 1.3 billion residents start 21-day lockdown – Today’s coronavirus updates

Amazon on fire: the interference in global health

Why we need a blockchain bill of rights

A Monday to watch the final act of a Greek tragedy; will there be catharsis or more fear?

5 principles for effective cybersecurity leadership in a post-COVID world

Meet Cipta: the comic book hero using her powers to tackle bullying in schools

MWC 2016 LIVE: BT chief aims to be at UK 5G forefront

We need impartial LGBT+ news to advance human rights

Brussels waits for the Germans to arrive

ACP-EU : Agreement on climate change, migration and post-Cotonou

Supply chains have been upended. Here’s how to make them more resilient

China’s Ambassador to the EU Zhang Ming wishes to Brussels a Happy 2019 Year of the Pig

Europe’s dirty air kills 400,000 people every year

The future of energy is being shaped in Asia

Does the Erasmus program really contribute to the construction of a solid EU identity?

A new global platform to unleash entrepreneurs on the world’s toughest problems

Asian and Pacific economies: decreases in tax revenue highlight need to broaden tax bases

EU-U.S. Privacy Shield: Second review shows improvements but a permanent Ombudsperson should be nominated by 28 February 2019

Fleeing Venezuela: MEPs to probe humanitarian conditions in Colombia and Brazil

5 reasons why biodiversity matters – to human health, the economy and your wellbeing

Sovereign wealth funds could increase equality in a post-COVID world

The European Sting @ European Business Summit 2014 – the preview

Why is Grexit again in the news? Who is to pay for Eurozone’s banking problems?

Syria: UN food relief agency ‘doing everything we can’ to reach Idlib civilians

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘Mandatory food labelling Non-Vegetarian / Vegetarian / Vegan’ initiative’

New phenomena in the EU labour market

FROM THE FIELD: Photos highlight agony of West African civil wars

New EU rules and guidance for a fairer online economy

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s