EU seeks engagement with China for global development

Updated: 2013-11-29 10:49


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BRUSSELS -- The European Union (EU) has strong interest in effective engagement with China on global development issues, said the bloc's development commissioner Andris Piebalgs.

"China has the potential to make huge differences to the developing world and it is already doing so," Piebalgs told Xinhua.

Earlier this month, Chinese and EU leaders agreed to strengthen communication on development policies, to make joint efforts in achieving a post-2015 global development agenda and to launch an annual high-level development dialogue.

The commissioner said that the EU looks forward to mutual understanding and consensus with China through dialogues, saying that the two sides need discussions to better understand each other, which will ultimately lead to better development outcomes.

"We have different approaches to development, but they can be complementary for potential cooperation," Piebalgs said.

Lauding China's domestic success in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the past three decades, Piebalgs acknowledged that China is still a developing country. "It has the world's second largest population living in poverty after India," he said.

China has managed to provide development aid to over 120 countries since 2000, thus rising to be one of major development players in the world.

The EU welcomes the model of developing countries helping each other out, or the South-South cooperation, Piebalgs said.

He called for expansion of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the post-2015 period to further eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development.

A number of MDGs have been achieved since 2000, ranging from halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education.

"We need to conclude the work started by the MDGs ... We need to have a comprehensive agenda with limited number of well-chosen targets," he said.

He stressed the value of the MDGs as the first global development framework with strong political and financial support.

The UN has started preparing for intergovernmental negotiations on a post-2015 agenda.

"The negotiations will be difficult, but in detail, not in overall approach," Piebalgs said.

Earlier this year the EU called for "a decent life for all by 2030" in a proposal targeting the post-2015 global development agenda.

The next development framework must address not only quantitative targets, but also qualitative ones such as standards in education, nutrition, water and air, according to the proposal.

A decent life is a life free of conflict and with security, a life where basic ingredients such as food and education are guaranteed, and a life where each personality can be realized, the commissioner pointed out.