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European Commission - Press release

Launch of 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue

Brussels, 01 February 2012 – The 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue will be officially launched today by Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. The Year will see a large number of events and projects hosted by EU Member States and China, with the aim of strengthening intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding through cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts. The EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue also offers opportunities for Chinese and EU cultural institutions, organisations and other stakeholders to establish and develop structured and sustainable cooperation during 2012 and beyond.

The official opening ceremony will take place this evening (from 18:00) at the Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in Brussels. Commissioner Vassiliou and Minister Cai Wu will deliver the opening speeches, together with Uffe Elbæk, the Danish Minister of Culture, representing the EU Presidency, and Crescenzio Rivellini, President of the European Parliament's delegation for relations with China. The Chinese GuangDong Modern Dance Company and Rosas, the world-renowned ensemble created by Belgian choreographer Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker, will perform for the VIPs and other invited guests from the cultural sector, public authorities and diplomatic circles.

A conference launching the Year will take place on 2 February and focus on prospects for strengthening EU-China cooperation. European and Chinese speakers will highlight a variety of projects supported by the European Commission to promote mutual understanding between the EU and China. The conference will gather policymakers, artists, intellectuals and representatives of cultural institutions from EU Member States and China.


The 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue was designated by EU and Chinese leaders at the EU-China Summit in 2010. It seeks to build on the EU-China Joint Declaration on Culture of 22 October 2007, which led to increased cultural cooperation and dialogue, as well as launching policy exchanges on education and training, including multilingualism. In May 2011, EU and Chinese leaders agreed to extend the scope of this cooperation by creating a 'third pillar' in the EU-China strategic partnership, through the 'EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue'. This will build 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. It will be launched at the EU-China Summit on 14-15 February.

In this context, the 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue reflects a commitment by both parties to continue opening up opportunities for mutual understanding, sustainable cooperation and long-term policy dialogue.

Events and actions which contribute to one or more of the objectives of the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue will be able to apply for a label showing that they have signed up to its targets. To be eligible for the label and part of the official calendar of the Year, the events must take place between 1 February and 30 November 2012, and involve partners or participants from two or more EU Member States. Other initiatives will be registered in a related events calendar. The labelled activities will cover all cultural sectors as well as other fields which contribute to mutual understanding and civil society exchanges, in particular education, research, multilingualism and youth.

Though no specific funding has been foreseen for the Year, some projects can be supported through the EU's MEDIA Mundus cinema programme or through the EU-China Trade Project, which is managed by the European Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China.

The EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue is the second in a series of thematic years in EU-China relations. 2011 was the EU-China Year of Youth.

To find out more:

EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue:

MEDIA Mundus programme:

EU-China Trade Project:

EU-China Year of Youth:

Androulla Vassiliou's website:

Contacts :

Dennis Abbott (+32 2 295 92 58)

Dina Avraam (+32 2 295 96 67)

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