As Europe's heads of state negotiated into the night to choose new collective leadership under the recently enacted Lisbon Treaty, China experts said implementing the treaty would have a positive effect on the Sino-European strategic partnership.
"The member states within the EU will be more coordinated on their policies towards China," said Yang Jiemian, president with Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, "and the selection of those leaders including the EU president will ensure the consistency and effectiveness of the EU's foreign policies."
Also, acommunication between China and EU will be more direct and efficient, Yang said.
Yang made the remarks on a Forum on China-EU Stategic Partnership yesterday in Beijing.
Gustaaf Geeraerts, director of the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies, said that the EU should find a remedy for its diplomatic schizophrenia in which shortsighted policies of the member states counteracted the proselytizing European Commission.
"More efforts should also be made to bring member states around the table to deduce a common denominator from their often diverging national interests," said Geeraerts, who is attending the forum.
However, Ding Yuanhong, China's former ambassador to the EU, said that the implementation of Lisbon Treaty will not bring immediate influence on Sino-European relations because the coordination among 27 EU member states is not so optimistic.
"The difficulties for the EU to select a president just suggests how difficult the process of coordination within EU could be on any major issue in the future," said Ding.
The forum, themed on how China and EU could turn challenges into opportunities in a globalized world, featured heated discussion of how the two sides could advance their relations in a more multi-polar world.
Recent setbacks in China-EU relations include differences over issues from climate change to trade protectionism. However, with China rising as an important global player with its expanding economy, and EU becoming a more unified community, better relations between these two giant powers are sought by both sides.
"If Beijing and Brussels are serious about changing the nature of great-power politics, a strategic axis between China and Europe build on mutual benefit and understanding will be indispensable," said Geeraerts.
The forum serves as a prelude to the upcoming Sino-EU summit scheduled at the end of the month.
It would have been the second Sino-EU summit held this year, but a meeting with the Dalai Lama by the French President Nicolas Sarkozy late last year disrupted Sino-EU ties and prompted China to postpone the annual summit.
Diplomats and scholars attending yesterday's forum said that discussions during the summit would center on global warming, energy and the financial crisis.
"To face up to some global challenges through joint efforts provides more opportunities for China and the EU to deepen their partnership," said Yang.