From the Expats

European leader optimistic on ties with China

By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2013-03-16 07:14

Brussels has sent a strong message to China's new leadership in which the EU says it expects Beijing to boost their strategic partnership and continually be "a key source of growth and stability" for the world.

European leader optimistic on ties with China

Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council


Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Council, submitted the expectations shortly after Li Keqiang's premiership was endorsed on Friday and Xi Jinping was elected as president on Thursday at the annual session of the National People's Congress, which ends on Sunday.

"I am looking forward to working together with the new Chinese leadership to bring the strategic partnership forward in the next decade," the former Belgian prime minister told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Van Rompuy said he has paid special attention to this year's EU-China summit, which probably will be held in autumn in China. He added this year is particularly meaningful because both are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the EU-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

"Together with the leadership transition in China, this provides for a very special context for the summit foreseen to take place in the fall, in China," said Van Rompuy.

He said both sides are trying to make the partnership able to successfully face future challenges and to continue to be "a key source of growth and stability for both sides and the world at large."

Van Rompuy said he has met Xi and Li before, both of whom have sent out a message of stability and long-term continuity in the EU-China relationship and to show that the leaders can work together to drive prosperity for both sides.

He recalled that when he met Xi during his visit to Beijing in 2011, they exchanged views on a broad agenda, particularly on global issues. "I appreciated his knowledge of the EU way of working and his clear support for enhancing the EU-China Strategic Partnership," Van Rompuy said.

He said he met Li in Beijing in 2011 and in Brussels in May 2012 and had open and constructive talks. They agreed that both economies are closely interconnected and that cooperation is essential to promote growth and jobs.

"During our talks, we shared the same confidence in the strength of our partnership, the precious fruit of a long cooperation with the previous Chinese leadership," Van Rompuy said.

Van Rompuy said since the EU-China Strategic Partnership was launched in 2003, it has become a key driver of the cooperation, and over the past 10 years the bilateral trade has almost quadrupled to become the second-largest in the world.

The strong ties were also built in a wide area of sectors, such as macroeconomic policies, human rights, energy, environmental protection, agriculture and urbanization, to name just a few.