Interview: Belt and Road Initiative to facilitate development of southeast European countries: Croatian expert

Source: Xinhua| 2017-05-07 22:58:19|Editor: Yamei
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ZAGREB, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, the southeast European countries could develop their cooperation with China in a broader context and it would maximize benefits of the initiative, said a leading Croatian expert.

"To shape their (the southeast European countries) relation with China, not only serving as national but also regional, would help to access to new technologies, build new infrastructure and attract Chinese capital to the region which was featured as small markets and weak level of transport connections," Jasna Plevnik, vice president of the Geoeconomic Forum, a renowned think tank of Croatia, told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Belt and Road Initiative, comprising the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, was first proposed by China in 2013. It is expected to include more than 60 percent of the world's population and more than one third of global economic output.

"This is an initiative that requires a stronger and more multilateral approach," said Plevnik, a senior researcher on China, adding that it may help the region to create more prosperity by strengthening the economic ties with not only China, but also with other sides involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.

The expert also believed that the initiative would lead to further integration and connectivity between the countries in the region in the fields of trade, production and infrastructure.

Plevnik said she has published several articles and lectured on many occasions to call on the southeast European countries to take the opportunity to upgrade their mechanism and translate the cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative into more jobs and benefits for people.

Croatia, as an EU new member, was pretty well equipped to address the issue of conformity of the Belt and Road Initiative projects in the region with EU norms, laws and practices, she added.

Plevnik also said the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, scheduled in Beijing on May 14-15, will provide a wonderful opportunity to solidify arrangements under the initiative.

At the platform, all participants could discuss the joint development of the project and share the benefits of win-win cooperation, she said, expecting that some early harvests would be presented at the forum to demonstrate the great potential and feasibility of the huge project.

The expert noted that today's world is facing the challenges such as Brexit, the refugee crisis and terrorism, but she was confident that the initiative would continue to make great progress and facilitate the recovery of economies in the southeast European countries and other parts of Europe.

KEY WORDS: Belt and Road