Prague, July 4 (CTK) – Prime minister Andrej Babis (ANO) will meet his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki in Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, on Friday to discuss business cooperation and current European affairs, and he will then go to Sofia to a summit of 16 East and Central European countries with China.
The Sofia summit will be focused on investment projects of China in the region.
Babis is meeting Morawiecki during the peaking international film festival in Karlovy Vary. Their debate will be economical and political, nevertheless.
They are to talk about economic cooperation, Czech-Polish projects regarding transport infrastructure, cooperation within the EU and within the Visegrad Four (V4) group along with Slovakia and Hungary. Both prime ministers are to meet Czech and Polish business people as well.
The last such bilateral meeting took place in Poland in 2016 when then Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) and his counterpart Beata Szydlo met. Former Polish president Andrzej Duda visited the Czech Republic in 2016. Czech President Milos Zeman paid his visit back this May.
Prague and Warsaw are also debating a joint meeting of both cabinets. Their last meeting was in Warsaw in 2016.
Both PMs are to proceed to Sofia from Karlovy Vary after their meeting.
The last summit of the 16+1 group was in Budapest in November 2017, with Sobotka representing the country. China then pledged to provide over three billion dollars to Central and East European countries in investment and development projects.
The current summit is to focus on the deepening of the cooperation in investments, transport, finance, science, education and culture. Babis also hopes to meet his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang for bilateral talks during the summit, the Government Office said.
The 16+1 group was initiated by China and the PMs met for the first time on April 26, 2012, in Warsaw. The EU member states in the group include Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia and the non-EU states include Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Western EU countries have voiced concern about the group as it may be weakening the common EU’s foreign policy towards China. The European Commission (EC) said after the summit last year that it supported the EU member states in these talks with China, but that the activities negotiated at the summit had to complement the cooperation of the entire EU with China.