EU seeks joint efforts on energy

By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-02 07:12

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".

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He said 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 Abou.

Law school

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)

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