ZAGREB, April 11 (Xinhua) -- The meeting of leaders of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) is an opportunity to strengthen and further develop China-Europe cooperation in various fields, a Croatian senior official has said.
The meeting in the Croatian seaside city of Dubrovnik also presents a great opportunity for the Croatian economy, Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure Oleg Butkovic said in an interview with Xinhua.
Butkovic added that the meeting will "open a series of doors to the Chinese and Croatian businessmen who recognize opportunities in traffic connections."
The Peljesac Bridge, designed to connect the southernmost tourism destination of Dubrovnik-Neretva County to the rest of the mainland, is being built in compliance with EU laws and standards by China Road and Bridge Corporation, which won the bid through open tendering.
"The project is also a confirmation of successful Croatian-Chinese cooperation, proven by giving the important role of bridge construction to Chinese companies which have impressive experience, people and equipment. All that has convinced us that we have a reliable partner who will complete this technically demanding project," Butkovic said.
The first phase of the construction has already been completed, he added, expressing confidence that the Chinese company will successfully complete the project within the envisaged time frame.
The minister also recalled his visit to China in January, when he and his transport delegation presented ongoing and planned Croatian infrastructure projects.
"We have put a strong emphasis on investing in projects such as sea ports and airports as well as modernization of railway infrastructure in Croatia," he said, adding that during his visit, the Chinese side pointed out that it deems Croatia as an important partner with a unique geopolitical position that creates possibilities for cooperation in many areas.
Croatia has built most of its own network of expressways, and is now turning to modernize the railway infrastructure, the minister said, citing the Lowland Railway as an example of the country's key transport projects.
The railway is a component of the international Mediterranean Corridor and a part of the core Trans-European Transport Network, he said. The modernization of that corridor would establish a quality transport connection between the Port of Rijeka in northern Adriatic and other parts of Croatia as well as Europe.
"This, of course, includes attracting new carriers to the railway network, which will ultimately contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the port and the earnings of all of its stakeholders," the minister said.
He stressed that Croatia, as a maritime country, is also open to investments in the infrastructure of sea ports, like the Port of Rijeka and Zadar.
"Zadar Port has already been recognized as a port with great potential from the Chinese side because of its exceptional position in the middle of the Adriatic Sea and good road transport connectivity," he said.
The minister added that a strong focus was also found on the Port of Rijeka, with its newly built container terminal that increases its capacity.
He said he believes that the port could become one of the most competitive ports in the north Adriatic region.