Premier Li says China will boost ties with Central, Eastern Europe

Updated: 2014-12-23 20:37


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China's cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries will be "up to the European Union standards and under the EU's legal framework ", Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

The premier, when asked by Merkel about his trip to Belgrade last week to attend a leaders' meeting of China and CEE countries, said China's ties with the CEE is an integral part of China-EU relations, which will facilitate the balanced development and the integration of the EU.

Central and Eastern Europe covers the Baltics, Balkans Ukraine and Belarus, spanning 16 countries in total. Eleven countries in the region, such as Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, are EU members, while the other five, including Albania and Serbia, are still working their way into the organization.

Experts say that as China and the CEE forge closer ties - both economically and politically – there will be some concerned that China is seeking a new foothold on the continent outside the European Union.

Merkel said Germany has paid attention to China's cooperation with the CEE countries, which she believes is in accordance with EU regulations and in the interests of the EU.

During the phone call, Li said he is looking forward to regular meetings between Chinese and EU leaders in the coming year.

Li said China will take an active part in the CeBIT 2015 trade fare, the world's largest computer trade fair held in Hannover, Germany, in January.

Merkel extended her thanks for China's support on the technology fair and she is looking forward to visit Beijing next year to further promote bilateral relations.