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IP/09/1502

Brussels, 13 October 2009

Paweł Samecki hosts 4th EU-China high-level meeting on regional policy

Paweł Samecki, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, will receive today a delegation from China headed by Du Ying, First Vice-Minister from the National Development and Reform Commission, which reports to the National People’s Congress. This annual meeting is taking place within the framework of the EU-China dialogue on regional policy. The aim of today's meeting is to agree on a joint working programme for 2010 to pursue a mutually beneficial exchange of experience on regional policy.

Ahead of the meeting, Commissioner Samecki said: "The regional policy dialogue is one of the most successful aspects of cooperation in the overall EU-China policy dialogue. We still have a lot to learn from each other to tackle our respective regional policy challenges. The repercussions of the current global economic and financial crisis for the policy and the issue of climate change are just two of the many areas where we can and should work together."

Today's meeting will focus on the following joint actions:

  • The publication of a joint study on EU-China regional policies. The study, which should be ready by the end of the year, will compare key aspects of regional policy in China and the EU including the classification of regions, regional governance issues, and the role of regional policy in promoting innovation and competitiveness;

  • A two-week training programme for about thirty Chinese participants, which would include visits to projects supported by the EU regional policy in different Member States;

  • A joint study with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to review innovation policy in selected Chinese provinces in 2010-2011.

Clusters and innovation

The latest exchange of views on regional policy started last week with a Chinese delegation participating in the OPEN DAYS - European Week of Regions and Cities ( IP/09/1401 ). A specific seminar on the role of regional policy in innovation and clusters was held in Brussels on 8 October, with speakers from China, Germany, Finland and UK. In particular, the Lahti Science and Business Park in Finland, co-financed by structural funds, was presented as a good model.

The Chinese delegation went on to visit the UK's East of England region at the invitation of the East of England Development Agency, which is responsible for running EU funded projects in the area. As a result, there are plans to set up an EU-China exchange programme for national and regional representatives to focus on innovation and clusters.

Notes for editors

Shared challenges: In the EU, despite impressive growth rates in the new Member States, one region in four has a GDP per inhabitant equal to or less than 75% of the EU average. China also faces huge regional disparities between the booming coastal areas, where 10 regions account for 58% of national GDP, compared to the 11 regions in the lagging western part of the country which contribute only 13% of GDP.

A Memorandum of Understanding on regional policy was signed in 2006 by the European Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the main agency in charge of macroeconomic management and formulating policies for economic and social development. The NDRC prepares development plans and reports on the economy and social development to the National People’s Congress.

The first EU-China regional seminar was held in May 2006 in Beijing, the second in Brussels in October 2007 and the third in Chongqing in November 2008. The next high-level meeting will take place in October 2010 in Shanghai.

For more information on EU-China cooperation in regional policy: see

http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/international/china_en.htm


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