Plamen Tonchev on 17+1’s past, present and future
On February 9, China’s President Xi Jinping held an online 17+1 summit with representatives from Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. The summit would normally be attended by Chinese Premier and CEE Prime Ministers, making Xi’s decision to take Li Keqiang’s place a boost to the meeting’s importance. The format has been controversial - with Brussels and Western capitals maintaining that it undermines European unity, while leaving many Central and Eastern Europeans critical of its underperformance and China maintaining it to be a success.
So what are the outcomes of the summit and what future awaits the 17+1 framework? To answer these and other questions we are joined by Plamen Tonchev, Head of the Asia Unit at the Athens- based Institute of International Economic Relations (IIER). As a representative of IIER, he is a founding member of the European Think-tank Network on China (ETNC). In addition, he sits on the EU Chapter of the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (EU CSCAP) committee. Currently, Plamen is also a European China Policy Fellow at MERICS.
The interview was led by MERICS analyst Grzegorz Stec, who compiles the MERICS EU-China Weekly Review. You can subscribe to this weekly round-up of EU-China relations for free here.