Premier Li: China to investment more in Eastern, Central Europe

World Today

China aims to increase its investment in 16 central and eastern European countries. Premier Li announced this shift at the “16+1” conference in Hungary.

It brings together heads of government to foster cooperation and development. CGTN’s Aljosa Milenkovic is in Budapest with more.

In front of hundreds of participants at the 16+1 meeting, a number of agreements were signed. Among them, the most valuable one, worth $2.1 billion dollars, for construction of a railway link from Budapest to the border with Serbia. Construction is expected to begin in 2020 and 85% of that project will be financed by China’s Exim bank.

Republika Srpska, a Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has signed a deal worth $380 million with a Shandong-based company to construct a 100 kilometer highway from capital Banja Luka to the border with Croatia.

“The resources from Europe are not enough, therefore we welcome the fact that as part of the new economic world system China looks to this region whose development it wishes to take part in,” Viktor Orban, Hungary’s Prime Minister, said. That message from Orban was shared by many attending the meeting.

More and more, countries from the central and eastern Europe are turning towards the East, towards China, because of its growing economic power, and that’s something that all of the heads of governments here are agreed upon. Constantly increasing trade levels and introduction of new areas of collaboration were on the main agenda on the first day of “16+1” in Budapest.

Premier Li Keqiang said that China will pledge $3 billion worth of funding for development and investment projects in central and eastern Europe.

And the possibilities of further economic collaboration with China are expected in the future. “In the next five years, China wants to import $5 trillion worth of goods. Our investments will total $700 billion. That is naturally coupled with appropriate reserves and a stable currency that is at an acceptable level despite volatility in international markets,” explained Premier Li.

At the end of the first day of the “16+1,” it was announced that the next host country will be Bulgaria.