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State Secretary Raščan at the Symposium on the importance of the 16+1 initiative

State Secretary Stanislav Raščan participated as one of the key speakers via video conference at the plenary session of the 8th Symposium “China and countries of Central and Eastern Europe”. The focus of the hybrid seminar was to discuss how to steer the 16+1 initiative through a turbulent period of change and adaptation.

state secretary stands infront of flag, looks into camera

State Secretary Stanislav Raščan at the Symposium on the importance of the 16+1 initiative | Author Ministrstvo za zunanje zadeve

In his address, State Secretary Raščan identified the 16+1 initiative as an important core of innovative and sustainable cooperation of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with China, as it strengthens and elevates political, economic, cultural and academic relations. He stressed that our future efforts must be aimed at enriching relations in the areas of innovation, the digital economy and SMEs.

Following the “Green. Creative. Smart.” orientation, Slovenia perceives economic potential in cooperation with the 16+1 initiative, especially in the segments of smart technology, high-tech products, e-mobility, aviation technologies and technological solutions for medicine and pharmacy. State Secretary Raščan said that China remains Slovenia’s largest foreign trade partner in Asia, so our country supports dialogue at the economic level in particular. At the same time, he recalled the urgent measures taken by EU member states to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. They have led to wide-ranging consequences for all European economies and a sudden drop in gross domestic product. Initially, disruptions were mostly observed in global supply chains. The recovery of European economies depends to a large extent on the effective use of COVID-19 vaccines. A lot of effort will therefore need to be deployed to strengthen citizens’ confidence in individual countries, which Slovenia, as the country currently holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU, is only too aware of.

The symposium was organised by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Diplomatic Institute to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria.