China’s growing green partnership with Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs) presents a promising investment opportunity. Entrepreneurs and experts from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina, and Romania highlight the enormous potential for cooperation in renewable energy, waste management, and green industries. With China’s expertise in areas such as photovoltaics and recycling, coupled with the unique strengths of CEECs, the collaboration aims to drive sustainable development and reduce the global cost of clean energy production.
In the picturesque city of Ningbo, Eastern China, Despodov Desislav Dimitrov, a 48-year-old Bulgarian entrepreneur, has embarked on a new business venture that goes beyond commercial interests. With its bustling trade and commerce connections between China and CEECs, Ningbo symbolizes the beginning of a promising journey for dreamers like Dimitrov. His new company provides high-quality bio-packaging, starch-based, plastic-free, and environmentally friendly solutions. Dimitrov recognizes the potential of the Chinese market and its commitment to green development, offering ample opportunities for cooperation between Bulgaria and China in the field of eco-friendly solutions.
Bulgaria, known for its rich biodiversity and diverse ecosystems, is considered one of Europe’s biodiversity hotspots. The country’s natural beauty and commitment to ecological development align well with China’s focus on green initiatives. Zahari Zahariev, chairman of the Bulgaria National Association for the Belt and Road, emphasizes the enormous potential for renewable energy cooperation with China.
China’s leadership in photovoltaics presents opportunities for collaboration with Bulgaria in various domains related to public goods, including waste disposal, transportation, and medical care. Zahariev points out that Bulgaria can learn from China’s successes in waste processing plants, a sector in which Bulgaria has lagged behind but that is closely linked to energy production and recycling.
Slovakia, a country with a skilled workforce, sees great potential for collaboration with China in the electric car industry and green energy sector. Pavol Antalic, chairman of the Slovak-Chinese Joint Business Council, highlights China’s leadership in new energy vehicles and Slovakia’s expertise in brainpower. Antalic suggests that recycling solar panels in China is the next significant investment opportunity, as these panels reach the end of their lifespan after 10 to 20 years. Solar panel recycling factories in China can serve as models for sustainable investment in the sector.
Bosnia and Herzegovina also envisions extensive cooperation with China and other CEECs in energy, infrastructure, green economic transformation, and clean energy. Zdravko Marinkovic, president of the Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasizes the potential for future cooperation projects. The China-CEEC Mayors Forum in Ningbo witnessed discussions on green cooperation between China and Romania. Cristian Apostol, vice president of Romania’s Prahova County Council, acknowledges China’s crucial role in green sector investments. Apostol sees room for collaboration in reducing carbon footprints through infrastructure modernization, developing the green energy sector, and promoting electric vehicles.
Neyko Genchev, vice mayor of Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria, highlights the local government’s commitment to a recycling economy. The region views waste as a valuable resource for the economy, transforming it into raw materials for manufacturing. Genchev commends China’s achievements in creating millions of “green jobs” and becoming a global leader in renewable projects. The significant cost reductions in solar power, wind power, and electric vehicle batteries in Chinese gigafactories are crucial in reducing the global cost of clean energy production.
The growing green partnership between China and CEECs signifies a promising investment opportunity. By combining China’s expertise in renewable energy and recycling with the unique strengths of CEECs, such as skilled workforces and natural resources, the collaboration aims to drive sustainable development, foster innovation, and reduce the environmental impact of energy production. This mutually beneficial partnership enhances economic growth and contributes to a greener and more sustainable future for both China and the CEECs.
The partnership between China and CEECs in the green sector has witnessed significant growth and diversification in recent years. This has been exemplified by numerous agreements and collaborations aimed at promoting green development and environmental protection. In 2021, the China-CEEC Year of Green Development and Environmental Protection further solidified the commitment to deepen cooperation in areas such as the green economy and clean energy.
Government officials, entrepreneurs, experts, and scholars have recognized the immense potential of the green partnership, considering it a new growth point and a key highlight in bilateral cooperation. The two sides have identified complementary strengths in areas like new energy, smart manufacturing, and intelligent transportation, setting the stage for fruitful collaboration and mutual benefit.
Marko Selakovic, an advisor to the mayor of Kragujevac, Serbia, sees limitless possibilities for China-CEEC green cooperation. He envisions opportunities for trade, joint development of innovative solutions, the introduction of green technologies, knowledge exchange, academic partnerships, and investments. The scope of cooperation extends beyond traditional boundaries and encompasses a wide range of sectors and opportunities for mutual growth.
The concept of green, sustainable development has evolved from focusing solely on green materials to encompassing green manufacturing, lifestyles, and the development of greener cities. Practical cooperation can begin with joint research initiatives in science and technology, as well as the cultivation of talent in the field of green partnerships. Experts emphasize the importance of nurturing a skilled workforce with the knowledge and expertise needed to drive sustainable development.
Collaborative research and innovation efforts can pave the way for developing and implementing eco-friendly technologies, renewable energy solutions, and sustainable practices. By sharing knowledge, best practices, and expertise, China and CEECs can mutually benefit from each other’s advancements in the green sector.
The exchange of ideas and experiences in green manufacturing can facilitate the adoption of cleaner and more sustainable production methods. This includes using advanced technologies and processes that reduce waste, minimize resource consumption, and mitigate environmental impact. By working together, China and CEECs can establish new benchmarks for sustainable manufacturing and foster a culture of eco-consciousness in the industrial sector.
In addition to scientific and technological collaboration, nurturing talents is crucial for the long-term success of green partnerships. This involves creating educational and training programs that equip individuals with the skills needed to thrive in the green economy. By investing in the development of a skilled workforce, China and CEECs can ensure a sustainable supply of professionals who can drive innovation and contribute to the growth of the green sector.
The expanding scope of the China-CEEC green partnership presents a wealth of opportunities for both sides. By leveraging their respective strengths and resources, China and CEECs can foster innovation, accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy, and promote sustainable development. The ongoing commitment to green cooperation benefits the participating countries and contributes to global efforts in combating climate change and building a more sustainable future for all.
Milena Dukanovic, a professor at the College of Electrical Engineering at the University of Montenegro, emphasizes the importance of data exchange and mutual understanding between China and CEECs. She believes that once there is a solid foundation of shared knowledge and information, opportunities for collaboration can be explored further.
Dukanovic envisions an exchange of scientists and the creation of bilateral scientific projects as a means to deepen cooperation between China and CEECs. By leveraging both sides’ expertise and research capabilities, these collaborative efforts can lead to innovative solutions and advancements in various fields.
As part of her current responsibilities, Dukanovic is leading a scientific cyber and data security project. This project involves collaboration with an information center in Beijing and partnerships with Changsha University and Changsha University of Science and Technology. Such collaborations demonstrate the existing ties between China and CEECs in the realm of scientific research and knowledge exchange.
Dukanovic sees an opportunity to initiate a project with universities in Ningbo, China. She believes exploring potential collaboration areas with institutions such as the University of Nottingham, Ningbo China, can lead to mutually beneficial research projects and academic partnerships. By identifying shared areas of interest and expertise, fruitful collaborations can be established.
The exchange of ideas and expertise between universities in Ningbo and institutions in CEECs can contribute to advancing scientific knowledge and technological innovation. Through joint research projects and academic exchange programs, scholars and students from both sides can collaborate and learn from each other’s experiences, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of each other’s strengths and capabilities.
By expanding collaboration in scientific research, China and CEECs can leverage their collective knowledge and resources to tackle shared challenges and drive progress in various fields. The potential for collaborative projects in areas such as cyber and data security, renewable energy, environmental sustainability, and advanced manufacturing holds great promise for the future. By nurturing these partnerships, both sides can enhance their scientific capabilities, promote technological advancements, and contribute to the overall development of their respective countries and regions.