The Slovenia Times

Šarec highlights Luka Koper as link between Europe and China


The shortest way for Central and East European countries to the sea is through Luka Koper, Šarec said, adding that for China the Slovenian port offered the quickest access to Central and East European markets.

The prime minister stressed that China was Slovenia's biggest trade partner in Asia and that thanks to the 16+1 initiative trade between Slovenia and China rose by 15% since 2013.

He noted that the Slovenian-Chinese projects were mostly high-tech projects, and pointed to joint ventures in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, IT systems, aviation technology, e-mobility and pharmaceutical industry.

The two countries also continue their successful cooperation in technologies supporting health, sports, transport and tourism, according to the prime minister.

Šarec said he was happy Slovenia had taken over the coordination of the initiative's mechanism for forestry and that Greece would join the initiative as a full-fledged member, turning it into a 17+1 initiative.

He believes the latter will contribute to a wider perspective and economic cooperation within the initiative.

China and the 16 countries from the initiative are to sign a number of agreements today, including one on cooperation between the Slovenian Engineering Academy and the Nanjing Jiangning High-tech Industrial Park in the setting up of an international science and research, and transformation centre.

Representatives of the Slovenian state-owned SID export and development bank are expected to sign an initiative for cooperation between China's interbank consortium and Central and East European countries in promoting the development of SMEs.

Prior to the plenary, a business forum was held, which was attended by about a thousand business executives, including representatives of nine Slovenian companies. More than a third of attendants were Chinese.

The summit started on Thursday with a working dinner hosted by Croatian PM Andrej Plenković.

Šarec told reporters today that he would not hold an official meeting with Plenković and that the pair had briefly discussed the latest developments related to the Slovenian-Croatian border arbitration in Brussels on Wednesday.

Asked by the STA whether he planned to pay an official meeting to Croatia to meet Plenković any time soon, Šarec replied in the negative. "I think certain things must be agreed first and if a bilateral meeting will be held, we will expect a result. That is respect of the rule of law and the implementation of the arbitration award."

Media reported recently that Croatia had been behind the wire tapping scandal that led to Croatia's withdrawing from the arbitration process, and that it had even tried to prevent the revelations from being published.


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