The European Union is seeking to take the Sino-EU strategic partnership
forward in the new year by stepping up co-operation in improving energy
efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Serge Abou, the EU ambassador to Beijing, said energy security and climate
change are priorities for the EU this year and neither issue can be effectively
addressed without China's participation.
He said the European Commission wants to work with China to help the latter
"promote energy standards and savings through the development and deployment of
near zero emission coal technology on carbon capture and storage".
the EU would like to share its regulatory expertise and standards, saying the
European bloc is keen to ensure China's early engagement in the application of
the new technology.
Analyzing the current state of bilateral relations, the ambassador said China
and the EU are moving toward a meaningful and realistic relationship --
differences remain but are being managed effectively.
He said the two sides have maintained frequent high-level exchanges, noting
that three more senior EU officials including Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson
are scheduled to visit Beijing before the summer.
Abou said the recently launched negotiations for a new Partnership and
Co-operation Agreement including updating a bilateral 1985 Trade and Economic
Cooperation Agreement currently the only legal basis for cooperation marked a
good beginning for bilateral co-operation in the new year.
Though the EU "looks forward to the timely conclusion of negotiations of the
new agreement", Abou said, he could not give a timeframe for the completion of
the "complex and wide-ranging" document.
He said it would take "as long as it takes" but hopes to make substantive
progress by November when the annual China-EU summit is held in Beijing.
In addition to trade, the agreement will provide a comprehensive framework
for the 22 sectors in which China and the EU already hold dialogues, including
energy, the environment, agriculture, transport, customs, education,
information, science and technology.
"Negotiations for new agreement in various forms are going on smoothly," said
Calling it the first major project of 2007, Abou said the Europe-China School
of Law is aimed at expanding the knowledge of Chinese legal professionals of
European and international law and will help European professionals, academics
and students to widen their knowledge of Chinese law.
He said the EU would contribute 18.2 million euros ($23.5 million) to the
school, which will be run as a not-for-profit partnership between a group of
leading European and Chinese academic institutions.
The law school is one of the three co-operation projects signed during EU
Commissioner for External relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner's last visit to
Beijing, where she and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing launched the negotiations
for a new partnership and co-operation agreement .
The other two are about protection of intellectual property rights and
business management training.
(China Daily 02/02/2007 page2)