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Baltic States Abandon East European Cooperation With China

  • Latvia, Estonia follow Lithuania in quitting 16+1 format
  • Platform with China had been losing momentum even before war
A Lithuanian national flag and a European Union flag in Brussels, Belgium.

A Lithuanian national flag and a European Union flag in Brussels, Belgium.

Photographer: Alexandros Michailidis/Bloomberg

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Latvia and Estonia joined Lithuania in abandoning the so-called 16+1 eastern European framework with China, which once threatened to divide the European Union in its relations with the world’s most populous nation.

The format between China and eastern members took shape in 2012 as a platform for Beijing to forge ties with 16 eastern European countries, cooperating on infrastructure and development projects. Greece joined in 2019, making it 17+1 for a time. Critics saw the arrangement as a way for China to exploit EU members who felt overlooked by Brussels.