The Peljesac Bridge, due to open for traffic on July 26, is a prominent project for promoting Chinese equipment, technology and knowhow in the construction industry in Croatia and globally, and it will deepen the mutually beneficial relations between China and Croatia and the European Union, said Qi Qianjin, Chinese ambassador to Croatia, in an interview with Xinhua on Thursday.
The project has been supported and followed with great interest and appreciation by the leaders of both China and Croatia, Qi said, praising Chinese enterprises that have overcome the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and completed the project on schedule.
He called the Peljesac Bridge a symbol of the fruitful cooperation between China and Croatia within the framework of a broader cooperation scheme between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (China-CEEC Cooperation). Qi also saw the project, which is the largest infrastructure project undertaken so far by the Chinese side in Croatia, as a token of good cooperation between China and Europe.
The project greatly contributed to economic growth in Croatia and more broadly in Europe, as it employed more than 250 local people continuously, while helping to cultivate engineering, technical and management skills, thus effectively driving the development of local enterprises and promoting the economic and social development of Croatia, Qi said.
A total of 18 design and consulting enterprises and 45 construction companies in the EU, as well as 112 global equipment and material suppliers have participated in the project, Qi said, adding that Chinese enterprises strictly followed the relevant environmental protection regulations of the EU and Croatia to minimize the impact of the project on the surrounding environment.
Qi said he had been aware of the worries of local oyster producers concerning the possible negative impact of the construction project on the quality and volume of oyster production at the nearby Ston Bay. However, thanks to the highest environmental protection standards observed throughout the project, no negative impact has been observed. On the contrary, the bridge has opened up new sales routes, Qi said.
The opening of the new bridge is expected to further deepen the mutual political trust between China and Croatia, strengthen the alignment of the development strategies of the two sides, and expand cooperation in various fields such as economy and trade -- in summary, it will take the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and Croatia to a new level, Qi said.