Acting DG for Economic and Public Diplomacy Grmek in a video conference of the 17+1 Initiative
On 8 May, Iztok Grmek, Acting Director-General for Economic and Public Diplomacy at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia, attended the video-conference of the 17+1 Initiative, led by Qin Gang, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and Secretary General of the 17+1 Initiative.
The aim of the 15th National Coordinators’ meeting was to discuss the measures to restart the economies of the participating countries after the Covid-19 pandemic and the preparations for this year’s summit, which was to have taken place on 15 and 16 April 2020, but has been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic.
The chair emphasised the importance of solidarity among the participants and proposed the strengthening of cooperation in health and business through information exchange, improving the logistics of protective equipment, and scientific cooperation on Covid-19 vaccine development, which would also enhance global health security.
Acting DG Iztok Grmek underlined the active participation of Slovenia within the Initiative, which has been a valuable contribution to the growth of trade between the two countries. He pointed out that Slovenia and other Initiative participants were facing a growing deficit that needed to be reduced, including by facilitating access to the Chinese market.
Grmek advocated pragmatic and result-oriented economic cooperation among the participants, above all in the light of managing the consequences of the pandemic and the associated relaunch of the economy. He also underscored Slovenia’s commitment to the values, principles, and policies of the EU.
The majority of participating countries called for the summit to be held in 2020, including holding a teleconference as an option of last resort. EU Member States expressed their interest in holding the summit after the planned date of the EU-China summit.