EU official welcomes cultural exchanges

Updated: 2011-10-22 08:26

By Fu Jing (China Daily)

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BRUSSELS - Beijing's decision on Tuesday to bolster the worldwide influence of Chinese culture will lend more impetus to cultural exchanges and help remove misconceptions between the European Union and its member countries, a top EU official has said.

Androulla Vassiliou, European commissioner for education, culture, multilingualism, sport, media and youth, said China and the EU will start to promote intercultural exchanges on a large scale in 2012 amid Beijing's resolve to have Chinese culture "spread out" after the country adopted a policy in recent years of boosting its outward investment and trade.

EU official welcomes cultural exchanges
China's highest leadership body, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, wrapped up a four-day plenary session in Beijing on Tuesday, pledging in a communiqu to deepen reform, satisfy the people's cultural needs with quality products and strengthen international cultural exchanges.

"Our joint aim is to deepen understanding and mutual trust between the EU and China," Vassiliou said after the CPC had concluded the plenary session on Tuesday.

"I'm sure that increased cooperation in the policy areas under my responsibility will contribute to this objective."

In the communiqu, China's leadership agreed that the influence of culture is essential in determining a country's ability to compete and international position and that China should do its utmost to promote it both at home and abroad.

Echoing the CPC's judgment, the commissioner said films, books, music, dance and other forms of cultural expression play an important role in the influence that a nation or continent has in the world of today. "Intercultural dialogue can only happen if both parties have the same access to the other's culture, so a two-way exchange is absolutely necessary," said Vassiliou, adding that she wants more Chinese films to be shown in Europe - and more European films to be screened in China. "With sub-titles, naturally," she added.

The commissioner also said Chinese leaders' decision to promote the country's culture will bring new opportunities for cooperation for both Chinese and European investors.

In both the EU and China, for example, the cultural and creative industries are increasingly seen as being among the most important parts of the economy.

"The purpose of our cooperation is to form the right conditions for business opportunities and joint action," she said.

Following the EU-China Roundtable on Creative and Cultural Industries in Beijing, which was held in June this year, the commissioner said both sides are now identifying their priorities for further cooperation. They, she said, will look at forming and strengthening relations between cities that have a high concentration of these sorts of industries and at having a clear objective and a development plan to support them.

"With frequent cultural exchanges, there is no doubt this will establish a 'new vision' of China in Europe and vice-versa," said Vassiliou.

The decision made by China and the EU to encourage cultural cooperation next year was followed by the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth. That event will promote not only cultural exchanges but all forms of "people-to-people" relations on issues relating to education, culture, youth, research and multilingualism.

Eveline Filon contributed to this story.