"16+1" mechanism offers opportunities to Europe, China: Croatian PM

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-02 00:23:03|Editor: ZX
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ZAGREB, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic opened on Saturday the 13th annual international conference "Dubrovnik Forum" in southern city Dubrovnik with a note that the Croatia supports cooperation with China and continuous European integration process.

This year's conference is organized under the title "Strengthening Resilience--Mediterranean, Europe, and the Western Balkans". According to the Croatian Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, the forum will focus on challenges posed by migration, terrorism, climate change and an array of asymmetric threats that are increasingly testing Europe and the wider Mediterranean area on political, security, economic, social and cultural level.

In his speech, the prime minister noted the importance of the next year's "16+1" summit that will be held in Croatia. "Croatia is especially preparing for the meeting of China and 16 Central and Eastern European countries because the initiative opens up great opportunities both for European countries and for China. We will do everything to prepare for this important meeting", Plenkovic said.

He stressed that the migration crisis in 2015 has had the biggest impact on the European political landscape and it changed political relations not only in Europe but in some members too.

"The consequences are an increase of populism and populist parties in all EU countries, and these consequences will be felt even next year when elections will be held in Europe", Plenkovic said.

Conference participants also discussed the dangers of the new refugee inflow, while Croatian hosts said that they will not set up barb wires at the borders. "We haven't done that as some states did, but we've employed 6,500 people to watch the borders and we think that's enough," said Plenkovic.

"Who could have imagined that everything that has been carefully built in the Schengen system for the last 30 years would be completely questionable and that fundamental values such as physical freedom of movement of people would become something that is not guaranteed," Plenkovic questioned. He supports further EU enlargement as one of the main challenges in this part of Europe.