31 October 2017
With the Roundtable on “Albania – China cooperation in the framework of “Belt & Road” and “16+1” Cooperation initiatives”, Cooperation & Development Institute (CDI) started today a cycle of events on Albania and Eastern Connectivity. This endeavor aims to build up on the CDI research and expertise on EU Connectivity Agenda and on the Berlin process.
In his opening address, Mr. Etjen XHAFAJ, Albania National Coordinator of 16+1 Cooperation Initiative and Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, underlined the commitment of Albanian government to closer cooperation with China. Albania’s geographical position, its healthy growth rate, the welcoming business environment and the macro-economic stability make it an attractive and reliable partner. All by acknowldgeing the challenges that big infrastructure investment present, Mr. Xhafaj warmly welcomed the Chinese partners to focus on mature infrastructure projects and work closely with Albanian counterparts for concrete successful results.
The strong support by local population and positive impact on the ground was among the main conditions that successful Chinese companies should respect when investing in the Western Balkans, stated H.E. JIANG Yu, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China in Albania. Ambassador Jiang indicated the infrastructure, energy, tourism and agriculture as sectors of interest, and pointed the role that better coordination, efficient utilisation of 16+1 Initiative and BRI mechanisms, has in increasing Chinese investment in Albania. Ambassador Jiang reiterated that China strongly supports the integration of Albania and of Western Balkans in the European Union.
Professor LIU Zuokui, Director of the China – CEEC Think Tanks Exchange and Cooperation Network Office, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences addressed the event, presenting the main findings of his last research on:Europe and the “Belt and Road Initiative”: Responses and Risks. BRI and 16+1 Initiative are built on principles such as inclusiveness, openness, joint planning, joint implementation and joint benefits.
Central and local government officials, representatives of government agencies, Chinese companies in Albania (Huawei, Hilong, China State Construction, etc.), academicians, researchers and other think tanks, participated in a lively discussion on opportunities and future developments of Albania – China cooperation.
The roundtable was organized by CDI in partnership with China – CEEC Think Tanks Exchange and Cooperation Network Office, and in cooperation with the Embassy of People’s Republic of China in Albania and with Albanian Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Office of National Coordinator of 16+1 Cooperation Initiative.