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Brussels, 29 April 2010

Commissioner Vassiliou welcomes Chinese commitment to cooperation on education, culture and youth

European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth Androulla Vassiliou today praised Chinese leaders for their commitment to cooperation with Europe.

Speaking in Beijing, where she is taking part in 'executive-to-executive' meetings with Ministers in her area of responsibility, Mrs Vassiliou said: "We have had very good discussions and I am delighted that we share the same commitment to future cooperation, which will be to the benefit of all our citizens."

The Commissioner held talks with the Chinese Minister of Education, Yuan Guiren, the Minister of Culture, Cai Wu, and the Vice-President of the All China Youth Federation, Lu Yongzheng.

The discussions focused on preparations for the EU-China High Level Forum, which will take place in Brussels in parallel with the EU-China summit later this year and on the 2011 Europe-China Year of Youth. The Commission is due to sign an agreement with China on the Year of Youth in the autumn.

The Commissioner also underlined her support for increased participation by China in the EU 'Erasmus Mundus' programme, which provides scholarships to study in Europe. Since the launch of the programme in 2004, 900 Chinese students have benefited from the scheme. China's participation in the EU's Marie Curie research fellowships programme is also increasing.

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and other EU Commissioners are also in Beijing for meetings with their counterparts. The main idea is to increase cooperation between Europe and China on global challenges including economic growth, energy, climate change and trade.

"Education, youth and culture area also at the heart of this," said Commissioner Vassiliou. "It is only by working together that we can create the mutual understanding that paves the way for effective cooperation in all other fields.

"The Chinese people have an enormous interest in learning more about Europe. In Europe, too, interest in China is growing exponentially. This bodes well for the future."

In the past three years, the European Commission and China have signed 'memorandums of understanding' on education, culture and multilingualism.

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