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IP/10/1267

Brussels, 30 September 2010

President Barroso and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to open first EU-China High-Level Cultural Forum (Brussels, 6-7 October)

The first EU-China High-Level Cultural Forum will bring together renowned European and Chinese intellectuals and artists on 6-7 October in Brussels. The event will be opened by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Wen Jiabao. The European Commissioner responsible for education and culture, Androulla Vassiliou, will also participate in the opening ceremony, together with the Chinese Minister for Culture, Cai Wu, and the Minister for Culture of the French Community of Belgium, Fadila Laanan, representing the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The forum, which is organised jointly by the European Commission and the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China as part of the 13th EU-China Summit, will be chaired by Italian author Umberto Eco and Chinese researcher Qiu Xigui. The event's main objective is to strengthen people-to-people exchanges and to foster mutual understanding between the EU and China.

Commission President Barroso said: "I am honoured and very pleased to host the first EU-China High-Level Cultural Forum. This is an initiative I agreed on with Prime Minister Wen at the 2009 EU-China Summit. Building stronger ties between the peoples of the European Union and China will contribute to adding further momentum to our bilateral relationship. Intellectuals and artists are essential to foster understanding between cultures and people. No one anywhere in the world can live without ideas."

During the previous EU-China Summit, which took place in Nanjing in November 2009, European and Chinese leaders agreed that the High-Level Cultural Forum would become an annual event, hosted alternately by Europe and China. The next forum, which will take place in China in the context of the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth, will focus on cultural exchanges and cooperation between cultural institutions, practitioners and industries.

As a party to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and the Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expression, the European Union is committed to integrating a cultural dimension in its relations with partner countries and regions.

Since 2007, the Commission has invested € 1.6 million through the EU Culture Programme in support of 10 joint initiatives with China. These included the 'Chin-A-moves' project, which brought together young Chinese and European choreographers and supported a European tour by Chinese dance companies. The Culture Programme also backed 'Common Voices', a collaboration involving the Shanghai Theatre Academy and European Opera institutions.

To find out more:

The EU-China High Level Cultural Forum: www.euchina-hl-culturalforum.com

The Culture Programme: http://ec.europa.eu/culture/our-programmes-and-actions/doc411_en.htm

The 2005 UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions:

http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=31038&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

Advisory for media and photographers:

The opening ceremony will take place from 08:55 to 09:35 in the European Commission Press Room. A limited number of seats will be available for media on a first-come first-served basis. To register, please send your details by email to iulia.costea@ec.europa.eu before 4 October (deadline: 17.00 Brussels time).

Photographers should also register at the email above. There will be limited opportunity to take photographs in front of the podium at the start of the ceremony (+/- 1 minute). A 'family photo' will take place at 09:20.


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