EU envoy says summit has offered opportunity to bolster cooperation
Premier Li Keqiang attended the opening ceremony of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting summit in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday as part of China's commitment to intensifying the partnership between the two continents.
This year's summit, with the theme "Europe and Asia: global partners for global challenges", is expected to bring together leaders from over 50 Asian and European countries and representatives from international organizations.
"It will be a meeting of minds, all looking for ways to better safeguard a rules-based international order, at a time when globalization is under attack," said Nicolas Chapuis, the European Union's envoy to Beijing.
He said the meeting is expected to be a good chance to bolster China-EU cooperation.
"Because of the general context where globalization is in question, and China is facing new challenges, we …want to further work with China to bring stability, and to bring prosperity to both sides," he said.
Chapuis said China and the EU should work through more dialogue and joint actions in addressing challenges and key issues facing the world today, such as unilateralism and reform of the World Trade Organization.
"What the union believes is that the future of peace, security, stability, and prosperity lies in the multilateral framework," he said. "We all need to repeat what China and the EU have done in Paris at COP 21 (the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference), to find creative solutions to the challenges facing the world right now. The world is one. The time of closed borders is the past. The future is open borders."
He said that during this year's summit a planned meeting between Li and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will likely see two cooperative documents discussed, with the aim of making clear progress.
"One is a geographic indication agreement between China and the EU, which is a sign used on products that have a specific geographic origin aimed at protecting intellectual property rights for products from both countries," he said. Another is the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, which aims to further open market access for companies as well as set rules to protect investors from both sides, a treaty that has been discussed for six years, he said.
He added that addressing climate change and international developments are two areas where China and the EU have a great deal of potential to work together, adding that the two sides have cooperated superbly in addressing climate change.
"Poverty alleviation. Education of young women. Access to water. Small and medium businesses. Creating jobs. Achieving 2030 development goals. These are things that China and the EU can work together on," he said.