Insights丨Erik Solheim: China-Europe cooperation and healthy competition bring mutual benefits

2024-05-08 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

By Chen Tianhao

(ECNS) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping left Beijing on Sunday morning for state visits to France, Serbia and Hungary. This is his first trip to Europe in nearly five years. China News Network talked with Erik Solheim, former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, who spoke highly of the promising future of China-Europe cooperation in economic development.

Noting economic relations between China and Europe are the most important at this stage, Solheim says that a lot more Chinese investments in Europe are needed. “Chinese companies need to set up production in Europe,” according to Solheim, “and they may shape the competition in the European market so that European competitors can do better”.

Taking Tesla as an example, Solheim says that China welcomed Tesla to its market, which had a huge and positive impact on China, because BYD, Hongqi, NIO, Geely, and all Chinese competitors compete with Tesla.

“We need to find ways where future economy is beneficial for both sides”, Solheim points out, “if European companies can compete with China in electric vehicles, solar panels or windmills, that would be very good for the world.”

Solheim also stresses that “the Belt and Road Initiative has already brought substantial benefits to Europe”, with the example of the Port of Piraeus in Greece and the Budapest–Belgrade railway. “The Port of Piraeus is one of the most important ports in Europe thanks to Chinese investment, and China is now also constructing a railroad from Belgrade in Serbia to the West in Hungary,” Solheim says, “From whatever I see, it's a beautiful and wonderful railroad.”

Eventually, Solheim calls for Europe and China to work together to maintain global peace, finding ways to stop the war in Ukraine and the aggression in Gaza. “We need to find ways to resolve these conflicts, and that's much easier if Europe and China work together,” according to Solheim.


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