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European Commission - Press release

EU and China set to boost co-operation on education, culture, youth and research

Beijing, 24 October 2011 – The European Union and China are preparing to take their co-operation to a new level on issues relating to education, culture, youth, research and multilingualism. Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, is in Beijing to finalise plans for the launch of a "people-to-people" dialogue covering these areas. Its aim is to deepen understanding and mutual trust by supporting exchanges between the two strategic partners. Commissioner Vassiliou will meet her counterpart in the Chinese administration, State Councillor Liu Yandong, to pave the way for the new framework for cooperation, which will be officially launched before the end of the year. During her visit, the Commissioner will also hold talks with Minister of Culture, Cai Wu, and the Vice Minister of Education, Hao Ping, as well as presiding at three major events - the closing ceremony of the EU-China Year of Youth 'Future Camp' (24 October), the opening of the EU Film Festival (26 October) and the second EU-China High-Level Culture Forum (27 October), where cultural implications of urbanisation will be discussed.

Commissioner Vassiliou commented: "This new pillar of co-operation will take relations between the EU and China to a higher level. It will open up space for dialogue on a very wide range of issues, bringing real benefits to both European and Chinese citizens. It will mark a very important step forward in the EU-China relationship."

The new EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue will represent a 'third pillar' in relations between the two partners, building on two previous cooperation agreements - the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue ('first pillar') and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue ('second pillar'). The people-to-people dialogue will enjoy the same status as the other agreements and will have flexible structure with very low financial implications. Its first formal meeting will take place in 2012.

Concrete 'deliverables' already planned include the establishment of an EU-China Higher Education Council and joint scholarship schemes aimed at encouraging opportunities for EU and Chinese students and teachers to study in each other's territories. The two partners will also develop a joint strategy and programme for the 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue, which also aims to contribute to better understanding and dialogue. Background

EU-China cooperation on education, training, culture, research, youth and multilingualism has rapidly developed over the past decade.

More than 2000 Chinese students have benefitted from Erasmus Mundus grants to study in the EU, with 200 EU students going to China.

In addition, around 550 Chinese researchers have received funding for research work abroad through the EU's Marie Curie Actions since 2007, some working on large scale international projects (worth a total of €314 million) and others involved in smaller schemes (worth €3.8 million). More than 60 Chinese universities participate in EU exchanges.

The Chinese government offers support to EU primary and secondary school educators and students who want to learn Chinese through the China-EU Language Exchange Project. A new joint EU-China scholarship scheme will soon be launched to ensure more balance and reciprocity in the numbers of exchanges.

In recent years EU-China Schools of Business, Law and Renewable Energy have been launched with EU funding support. The EU-China International Business School (CEIBS), established in Shanghai in the mid-1990s, has received €33 million and is ranked among the global top 30 by the Financial Times.

2011 EU-China Year of Youth

The Year included seven jointly organised flagship events which took place in China and in the EU, as well as the European Youth Week in Brussels in May, the Youth Forum on Sustainable Development in Beijing and Xi'an in July, the EU-China Youth Forum on participation in Shenzhen in August and the EU-China "Volunteer Bridge" in Brussels in September. Hundreds of European and Chinese youth representatives participated in these 23 projects involving youth organisations from the EU and China started and received more than € 2 million funding in total from the Youth in Action Programme. These projects involved 33 Chinese organisations, 14 cities and 7 provinces. Altogether, hundreds of projects, events, activities and other initiatives received the Year's label.

EU Film Festival

Commissioner Vassiliou will open the festival on 26 October ahead of the screening of the Polish thriller Tricks, directed by Jan Hryniak. In total, 26 films from 24 EU Member States will be screened during the festival.

Those already confirmed include: Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott ((The unintentional kidnapping of Elfriede Ott - Austria), Les Barons (Belgium), Svetat E Golyam I Spasenie Debne Otvsyakade (The World Is Big And Salvation Lurks Around The Corner - Bulgaria), Apo Thavma (By Miracle - Cyprus), Kuky Se Vrací (Kooky – Czech Republic), Kærestesorger (Aching Hearts - Denmark), Kormoranid Ehk Nahkpükse Ei Pesta (Farts Of Fury - Estonia), Maata Meren Alla (Overseas And Under Your Skin - Finland), Des Hommes Et Des Dieux (Of Gods And Men - France), L’Accordeur (The Piano Tuner - France), Krabat (Germany), O 7os Ilios Tou Erota (The 7th Sun Of Love - Greece), Puskás (Hungary), His & Hers (Ireland), 20 sigarette (20 Cigarettes - Italy), Duburys (Vortex - Lithuania), Schemer (Dusk - Netherlands), A bela e o paparazzo (Beauty and the Paparazzo - Portugal), A Drogaria (The Drugstore - Portugal), Pokoj v dusi (Soul at peace – Slovak Republic), Piran Pirano (Slovenia), Camino (Spain), Miss Kicki (Sweden), Music For One Apartment And Six Drummers (Sweden). The UK and Malta will also screen films.

The festival will run until the end of November and the films will be screened in three Chinese cities – Beijing, Chengdu and Shenzhen.

One of the aims of Commissioner Vassiliou's visit is to encourage more Chinese films in Europe - and more European films in China.

The MEDIA Mundus programme supports international cooperation in the audiovisual sector, offering EU film-makers the chance to create networks with their Chinese counterparts.

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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