Albania has high expectations of cooperation between China, CEE countries

  TIRANA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Politicians and experts have voiced their support for Albania's engagement in concrete national and inter-regional projects within the cooperation between China and 16 Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, also known as the 16+1 cooperation.

  This year marks the fifth anniversary of the launching of 16+1 cooperation, which has been growing in the past five years and become an influential trans-regional mechanism with substantial projects and cooperation results.

  Albania sees the 16+1 initiative as an important platform for communication and interaction, a very good instrument of cooperation, and also a starting point for strengthening relationship in various areas, Albanian Deputy Prime Minister Senida Mesi said in a press release Tuesday.

  On Monday, Mesi headed the Albanian delegation at the sixth meeting of heads of government of China and 16 CEE countries scheduled for Nov. 26-29 in Budapest, Hungary.

  According to her, the projects on road and rail infrastructure, energy, tourism, and agriculture would improve the quality of Albania-China partnership.

  Albania, she said, supports any initiative that would bring mutual benefit to its economy and people and commits to adapting them to the European integration agenda.

  Albania's Minister of Energy and Industry Damian Gjiknuri said through a social network post that the 16+1 initiative, aimed at attracting investments in such fields as energy, agriculture and tourism, will have a direct impact on Albania's economic development.

  "The Budapest summit is very important for the entire Balkan region, but especially for Albania,... given that the priorities of this meeting will have an impact on the development of Albania," Violeta Shqalsi, an economic expert, told Xinhua Tuesday.

  She said the whole Balkan region is seen as a common market and the improvement of the region's infrastructure was essential for economic development.

  Shqalsi said cooperation agreements with China -- one in the field of customs and another on energy -- will strongly contribute to the development of the bilateral relationship.

  She also suggested cooperation with Chinese enterprises, saying it would increase the capacity of businesses in Albania and other Balkan countries.

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