|Formation||26 April 2012|
14 CEE Members
Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEE, China-CEEC, also 14+1; formerly 17+1 from 2019 to 2021 and 16+1 from 2021 to 2022) is an initiative by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote business and investment relations between China and 14 countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE, CEEC): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Prior to their 2022 withdrawal, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were members of the initiative.
The format was founded in 2012 in Budapest to push for cooperation of the "16+1" (the 16 CEE countries and PRC). In 2019 at the Dubrovnik Summit, Greece joined the grouping, while in 2021, Lithuania left it. The 16+1 meet annually; summits were held in Dubrovnik (2019), Sofia (2018), Budapest (2017), Riga (2016), Suzhou (2015), Belgrade (2014), Bucharest (2013), and Warsaw (2012). The China-CEE secretariat is in Beijing, with 16 "national coordinators" in each of the partner CEE countries.
The format's goals are to promote the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative and enhance cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, transportation and logistics, trade, and investment". These goals are supported by "growing ties in the areas of culture, education, and tourism ... cultural exchanges, think tanks, and NGOs."
|2||Romania||Bucharest||2013.11.26||"Win-Win Cooperation and Common Development"|
|3||Serbia||Belgrade||2014.12.16||"New Power, New Platform, New Engine"|
|4||China||Suzhou||2015.11.24||"New Starting Point, New Field, New Vision"|
|5||Latvia||Riga||2016.11.5||"Interconnection, Innovation, Integration and Mutual Aid"|
|6||Hungary||Budapest||2017.11.27||"Deepen Economic, Trade and Financial Cooperation and Promote Mutually Beneficial and Win-Win Development"|
|7||Bulgaria||Sofia||2018.7.7||"Deepening Open and Pragmatic Cooperation to Jointly Promote Shared Prosperity and Development"|
|8||Croatia||Dubrovnik||2019.4.12||"Building a Bridge of Openness, Innovation and Partnership"|
|9||China||Video conference||2021.2.9 (postponed due to COVID)|
In March 2021, the Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) reported that in February, the Lithuanian parliament agreed to leave what was previously China's 17+1 format. Foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said the cooperation between Beijing and Lithuania has brought "almost no benefits". At the same time, it was also reported that Lithuania would open a trade representative office in Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China (ROC), to boost unofficial relations with Taipei.
The incident led to a diplomatic row with China and further trade disputes, including Chinese boycotts of Lithuanian components, dragging the European Union into the dispute. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda stated in January 2022 that it was a mistake in allowing Taiwan to open a representative office under the 'Taiwan' name, and that he was not consulted on the decision. Furthermore, a January 2022 poll commissioned by the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs found that a large majority of Lithuanian citizens are critical of current government policy towards China, leading to opposition figures calling for the repair of bilateral relations. Later on, a poll that was conducted soon after the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine showed that 20% of Lithuanian respondents viewed China very negatively and 44% rather negatively.
Estonia and Latvia
In January 2023, Czech president Miloš Zeman spoke with Chinese president Xi Jinping through a video conference to promote trade and bilateral relations  Following the end of Zeman's term in March 2023 however, the foreign ministry of the Czech Republic said it is "not an active member" of the format in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The format was publicly panned by the foreign minister of the Czech Republic as lacking substance or a future.
Infrastructure, investment, and trade
This includes (as of 2017) Serbia's E763 Highway project, the Budapest–Belgrade railway, and the China–Europe Land–Sea Express Route. In Croatia, a Chinese consortium led by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) was contracted for the first phase of the construction of Pelješac Bridge and its access roads. In Poland, Chinese companies acquired Huta Stalowa Wola's civil engineering machinery division and Poland's PBF bearings.
According to China Customs' statistics, China's trade volume with CEEC totaled $67.98 billion in 2017, a 15.9 percent increase compared to that of 2016. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, in 2016 China-CEE trade increased to $58.7 billion (from $43.9 billion in 2010), while its investment in CEE countries has accumulated to more than $8 billion, covering industries such as machinery, chemical, telecom, and new energy.
From 2012 to 2017, six new direct flight routes between China and CEEC have been opened, the number of Chinese tourists visiting CEEC increased from 280,000 to 930,000, and the number of exchange students doubled as well.[quantify] A China-CEEC Coordination Center for Cultural Cooperation was opened in North Macedonia. In China, the China-CEEC training center for young artists and China-CEEC Cultural and Creative Industries Exchanges and Cooperation Center were opened in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
Jeremy Garlick, a British assistant professor at the Prague University of Economics and Business, accused China of pursuing an assertive strategy of 'divide and conquer' tactics designed to benefit China at the EU's expense. Others such as the European Commission, European Parliament, and several scholars, view the China–EU cooperation as 'win–win' and mutually beneficial for China, the countries involved, and the European Union (EU).
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Finally, the most recent available poll, largely conducted soon after the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, showed that 20% of Lithuanian respondents viewed China very negatively and 44% rather negatively, suggesting a certain impact of the war.
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