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Positive energy from China-EU Summit

Editor: Zhang Dan 丨CCTV.com

06-30-2015 16:07 BJT

By Zhao Junjie, researcher from Europe Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

The 17th China-EU Leaders’ Meeting has been held in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, which covers the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the EU (European Union). This is the first meeting between the new Chinese government and the new European Commission, an occasion to deepen cooperation and plan future partnerships for the benefit of peace, growth, reform and civilization.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has met with Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament. Together, they have confirmed a determination to inspire new energy for EU-China relations in the next stage. They discussed issues of political trust; focusing on the expansion of cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The EU-China Summit has also issued a joint declaration to express common ground on global issues, as well as further development of bilateral relations.

EU-China relations have been transformed from a “long-term relationship” in the late 1990s to a “comprehensive partnership”, and from “maturing partnership” to “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership” today, which demonstrates deep adjustments and favorable interactions between both sides.

Leaders from both sides have visited each other frequently to develop stronger stability, while having issued a series of important documents concerning mutual relations. China and Europe have established more than 50 dialogue mechanisms that involve politics, economics, finance, technology, energy and education, along with holding more meetings at the Leaders’ Summit.

Trade and technical cooperation between China and Europe have made significant progress in the past 40 years. Bilateral trading volume between China and Europe from 1975 to 1989 has increased from USD 2.4 billion to USD 23.5 billion, rising by nearly 10 times within a 14 year timeframe. Bilateral trading volume from 1990 to 1999 has increased from USD 22.2 billion to USD 55.7 billion, rising by 16.76% a year on average.

Trade volume has been developing fast in the 21st century with the EU becoming the largest trading partner and the largest import source for China. China-EU trading volume in 2014 has surged up to USD 615.139 billion, increasing by 9.9%. Exports from China to EU stood at USD 370.884 billion, increasing by 9.4%; and imports from EU to China was USD 244.254 billion, increasing by 10.7%. By the end of 2013, the EU had invested more than USD 90 billion in China; China had also invested more than USD 35 billion in the EU directly. In other areas such as science, education, literature and health, cooperation between China and Europe is also growing larger and deeper.

While recognizing greater achievements of China and European relations in the past 40 years, we should also realize the complexity in bilateral relations. The annual leaders’ summit mechanism along with various consultations and dialogue mechanisms unnecessarily ensure healthy development of political relations.

Economic and trade activities have been impacted by structural conflicts and contradictions. The struggles over dumping and anti-dumping measures, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights have turned more and more fierce. Though the relations between leaders from both China and the EU have remained positive, there are areas where mutual political trust and coordination are still insufficient.

Therefore, Chinese President Xi Jinping had emphasized in his visit to the EU in 2014 that both sides have to implement the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation to establish major partnerships in favor of peace, growth, reform and civilization.

Within such a forward-looking partnership framework, we may promote the “Belt and Road” initiative to connect the grand investment plan of Europe that may combine China-EU cooperation for energy and urbanization alongside the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. We should participate in the Juncker investment plan to construct a smart city. It’s essential to establish an exchange platform stemming from this summit to facilitate more visas for the Chinese people who are seeking to engage in more in business, travel or visiting family members in Europe.

The EU holds plenty of advantages in the fields of new energy development and utilization, energy-savings and emissions reduction technology, smart power grids, smart traffic, cyclic economies, green agriculture and green food, and low-carbon technology, while China offers strong advantages in the high-tech market, foreign exchange reserves, financial regulation, as well as external trade.

Accordingly, China and the EU should continue to engage in win-win cooperation. We expect that the leaders’ meeting this time will follow up on the principles of “mutual political trust, complementary economies, mutual cultural exchanges and common development” to promote the sustainable development of China-EU relations.


Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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