16 Plus 1 is a Chinese initiative to strengthen business ties between China and 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Zagreb on Tuesday night for his first visit to Croatia. Accompanied by a delegation of some 500 politicians and business leaders, Keqiang will be received by top state officials, including Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, on Wednesday.
On Thursday and Friday he will attend the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries summit in Dubrovnik. The initiative is also known as 16+1 and along with China and Croatia, includes Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Finance Minister Zdravko Marić was upbeat about the potential of Premier Keqiang’s visit. "We have big expectations. From the Pelješac Bridge to a number of other areas that will be discussed. In any event this is a big deal for Croatia and we will devote half a week to his visit. So, I am confident that it will produce positive effects, which is the most important thing."
Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević also says there is enormous potential for strengthening ties with China. "Within the framework of this visit there will be a series of bilateral meetings with the signing of a number of concrete agreements, from the economy to culture. The Pelješac Bridge is one of the most tangible examples of the strong cooperation between Croatia and China. China is a big market and China can be a big investor in Croatia," Minister Kuščević said.