José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Press statement by President Barroso following the executive-to-executive meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao
Joint press conference
Beijing, 29th April 2010
First of all I would like to express my appreciation to Premier Wen Jiabao and his Government for having hosted this meeting. This executive-to-executive meeting is the third such meeting that we hold and it is the first time that we convene hereunder my second mandate in the Commission.
When I was last here we set out an ambitious agenda which I am pleased to see we have largely fulfilled.
These meetings provide an opportunity for us to discuss in detail developments in our bilateral relations, compare notes on key global issues and take our joint agenda forward.
The bilateral relationship is strong, and the EU-China strategic partnership is even more relevant in an increasingly globalised world.
Whether it is on leading a global economic recovery, resisting protectionist pressures, combating the threat of climate change, addressing nuclear proliferation and other security policy questions I believe that China and the EU need to work together in the spirit of a strategic partnership and full respect of the ideas of stability and predictability in our relations
In our history of diplomatic relations, the EU has always supported a role for China in world affairs and in multilateral institutions, and in fact China has always supported the European integration process.
PM Wen and I spoke candidly about our concerns. We spoke about our current economic situation globally and the contribution that China and the EU, as very responsible partners, can give to a sustainable global recovery. We discussed without taboos all issues, from the importance of rebalancing global growth and further reducing global imbalances, to trade, investment and currency matters. I welcome the commitment of PM Wen to going on with opening the Chinese economy. I think the EU can also congratulate itself for having resisted protectionist pressures and having kept our markets open. We have also seen an increase of trade in both directions. In fact we are also after this meeting going to meet European business leaders because we want to be sure that the best conditions for investment are in place. Furthermore we have decided also to look at the possibility of reinforcing our conditions for investment both in China and in the EU in the future.
It is important for us to ensure a level playing field for European companies in China and I know that Premier Wen attaches great importance to the role of these European companies here in the Chinese market. In fact, those companies are a key pillar of the EU-China partnership.
We have discussed specifically the issues of climate change and energy. We are determined to build on the Copenhagen Accord and I think our regular dialogue on this topic is essential. That is why Commissioner Hedegaard and her counterpart, Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhua, have agreed, earlier today, to set up a "hotline" on climate issues and to conduct a regular dialogue at their level.
We believe that both the international process after Copenhagen and the bilateral cooperation raise a great potential for the relations of China and the EU.
We had an in-depth discussion of energy policy. Both China and the EU are resolved to act as responsible global energy players so as to ensure energy security and sustainability. Tomorrow I will have the pleasure of inaugurating the EU-China Clean Energy Centre here in Beijing, a key tool to strengthen our cooperation on clean-energy technologies, and this is a key element in our efforts to combat climate change.
For this year, we have agreed a very ambitious programme that I will not detail now but which reflects the importance that both sides give to this dialogue.
We have also mentioned extensively people-to-people contacts and culture, and there will be an EU-China Forum during the next EU-China Summit in Brussels later this year.
So I'm giving you a very wide appreciation of the very, very vast fields in which we have intended to further our cooperation. There are no taboos in our discussions and in fact we address matters of concern. I welcome the fact that we are deepening our dialogue on human rights and during this meeting, too, we have exchanged our opinions based on the regular dialogue we have on human rights. We believe that it is essential to respect human rights and this is an important part of our dialogue.
I think it is important to translate this relationship in terms of better understanding, trust and respect. For this, openness is essential; to have this kind of information, to have access to information, so that our peoples can know each other better. That's one of the reasons why tomorrow I'll have the pleasure, with High Representative Catherine Ashton, to be present in the Shanghai Expo opening ceremony. It will provide a window for both sides, for China to be better known and respected. It is also an occasion to celebrate our relationship.
The announced Europe-China Year of Youth in 2011 offers also an excellent opportunity to step up our relations by focusing on our young people, a very important resource for our societies. We are aiming for an increase in the exchanges at student and academic levels.
And when I look back, and now I can speak with some perspective, because I have been at six EU-China summits during the last six years, working very closely with PM Wen: We always had this kind of very deep cooperation. I saw progress in the EU-China relationship, not only addressing political dialogue, but also progress in very concrete programmes, programmes developed here in China, and development also in our dialogue regarding global issues. That is why I am very happy with the results of this meeting, and once again on my behalf, and on behalf of all the team of Commissioners who came from Brussels to Beijing, I want to thank you, Prime Minister Wen and all the members of your delegation, for your hospitality and for the constructive approach you have had during our meeting.