On the 6th of October 2016, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade’s delegation, led by Director-General Mr Márton Schőberl participated in the China – CEE Political Parties Dialogue conference in Budapest.

On the 6th of October 2016, the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade’s delegation, led by Director-General Mr Márton Schőberl participated in the China – CEE Political Parties Dialogue conference in Budapest. Mr Schőberl chaired the second session of the First Political and Economic Panel of the conference where high-ranking officials from different parties of China and the Central-East European region discussed current political and economic developments between China and the CEE region. The aim of the panel was to exchange each other’s views on future cooperation with a special focus on the „One Belt, One Road” initiative and possibilities regarding 16+1 format cooperation. Both parties expressed their mutual respect and further indicated the willingness to develop their political and economic ties in the future.

A second panel running in parallel addressed the importance of people-to-people exchange as an equally important element of cooperation between the countries.  Panellists highlighted that cooperation shall not only take place on the governmental level but on the level of people in order to achieve a long-term and sustainable success. Besides multilateral political dialogues, other platforms are needed to bring the societies closer to each other, to learn about each other’s culture and to strengthen mutual understanding. Speakers underscored the success of already existing people-to-people exchanges which are to foster the engagement of civil societies in joint initiatives. One of the most visible results of the deeper cooperation is the increased touristic exchange. However, the number of joint artistic exhibitions are also on rise while the facilitation of learning each other’s languages via joint language training programmes is also a priority. Publishing each other’s literatures, translation projects, educational exchanges, promotion of joint academic research collaborations and common business incubators between the two regions are great examples how non-governmental level cooperation could be achieved and reinforced. IFAT’s Associate Fellow Dr. Gergely Salát contributed as the Hungarian speaker to this panel.