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Member of the European Commission responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth

Opening statement

EU-China High-Level Cultural Forum

Brussels, 6 October 2010

Honourable Minister Cai, Minister Laanan, Mr Eco, Mr Qiu, distinguished guests,

Welcome to the first EU-China High-Level Cultural Forum. It is a great pleasure and honour for me to take part in this morning's opening ceremony. I am very appreciative of the support we have for this Forum from President Barroso and Premier Wen. I am also grateful to Premier Wen for launching the idea at the twelfth EU-China Summit in Nanjing last year.

Today represents a milestone in cultural relations between the European Union and China. World renowned scholars, artists, experts are gathered here to discuss globalisation and how culture can play a positive role.

Europe and China share common goals. We both want peace and prosperity for the people of our countries and the rest of the world. Our cultural richness uplifts and unites us. In a globalised world, our cultural diversity is an asset not an obstacle. It makes our lives richer and helps us grow and live in harmony with one another.

These past years the EU and China have stepped up our dialogue and joint initiatives on culture. Last year we launched the policy dialogue on culture at the first EU-China Cultural Industries Forum in Shenzhen.

Today's event will lay the ground for further cooperation. It will help prepare the EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2012. We see the Forum as central to our cultural cooperation and would like to establish it as an annual event alternating between Europe and China.

But in addition to our official contacts, I am convinced that if we continue our efforts to promote direct contacts between our peoples, we will improve our understanding of one another and be better equipped to take on the challenges ahead.

I wish you rich and fruitful debates.

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