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Croatian experts call for openness to Chinese investments

Updated: Nov 29,2017 6:22 AM     Xinhua

ZAGREB — Croatian experts have expressed hopes the Croatian government will change its policy and be more open-minded towards possible Chinese investments in the country.

“China has interest in South-East Europe that could be a bridge to the European Union (EU) market. It already showed its interest in Croatia, but unfortunately, the Croatian side was a bit reserved. I believe that the Croatian government is still closely watching Washington’s and Brussels’ reaction of a possible closer Croatian-Chinese relation,” political analyst Dario Kuntic told Xinhua on Nov 28, a day after Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plankovic attended a meeting of heads of governments of Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC) and China in Budapest.

Kuntic said that Croatia and China signed a memorandum of understanding last year in Riga, but almost nothing was done after that. “Now there is a new opportunity to do something,” Kuntic said.

Ljubo Jurcic, former Croatian economy minister and economics professor, argued that Croatia doesn’t have a clear strategy for China. “I don’t expect much change because the government still doesn’t have a strategy for more productive relations,” Jurcic said when speaking to Xinhua.

“The former Croatian prime minister didn’t attend the 16+1 summit, so at least Andrej Plenkovic traveled to Budapest...Unfortunately, our delegation didn’t study Chinese strategy in the region and doesn’t know how to fit Croatia in it,” Jurcic said.

Although the China Road and Bridge Corporation is bidding for the Peljesac bridge, the biggest infrastructure project in the southeastern European country, Jurcic thinks that Croatia doesn’t have a plan for other big infrastructure projects, so this could be just a single case of cooperation, a sign of Chinese goodwill.

“There is a room for better cooperation and business in electronic and informatics sectors, tourism and food industry,” Jurcic said.