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"We have a lot to learn from China," says Spanish FM in Croatia

Last update: 17/06/2019
ZAGREB (Croatia), May 30 (Bernama) -- Europe has a lot to learn from China, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting visiting Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as saying here on Wednesday after meeting with his Croatian counterpart Marija Pejcinovic Buric, .

"China is a big player and has more and more presence in Europe. We have a lot to learn from that country and we are interested in its economic and political activities in eastern Europe," Borrell said at a press conference.

He noted that his visit to Croatia is a good opportunity to become familiar with numerous economic and political activities between Beijing and Europe.

Borrell told reporters that he talked with Buric about Croatia-China relations and "the bridge that is being constructed near Dubrovnik."

The Peljesac Bridge is one of the biggest infrastructure projects in Croatia's history which is being built by a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation. The bridge that is mostly funded by the European Union would connect the coast with the Peljesac peninsula and unite the disconnected south part of Croatia and its best-known city Dubrovnik in southern Adriatic, with the rest of the country.

Peljesac Bridge was one of the main topics in the conversation between Borrell and Buric, Croatian news agency HINA reported. They also talked about cooperation between Croatia and Spain, Europe's future, Brexit and Croatia's upcoming EU (European Union) Presidency. Croatia will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020.

The Spanish foreign minister said his country supports Croatia to join the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Schengen Area, and the eurozone. Buric stressed that Croatia and Spain cherish traditionally good and friendly relations. Historical membership of the same Euro-Mediterranean circle of countries, as well as the EU and NATO, only contributes to good relations, she noted.

On Wednesday afternoon, Borrell also met with the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

Plenkovic and Borrell talked about trade exchange between the two countries that is currently worth around 800 million euros (US$890 million), further economic cooperation and investments in infrastructure projects and tourism, the government office announced in a press release.

They also discussed Croatia's EU presidency and the EU's financial framework from 2021 until 2027.


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