China, Europe need one another

Updated: 2013-04-24 02:28

By LI XIAOKUN in Suzhou, Jiangsu (China Daily)

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China and Europe are at a critical crossroads for economic transformation and need each other more than ever, politicians and experts from both sides said.

They made the remarks during a Tuesday meeting between high-level officials of Chinese and European political parties.

"Both sides are in a critical period of their economic development. They are more than ever in need of each other and conditions are better than ever for close cooperation," said Chen Fengxiang, vice-minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, at the closing ceremony of the fourth China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum.

He was referring to some of the forum's hot topics, namely that China is seeking to transform its development mode under its new leadership while Europe is struggling to optimize economy to handle the debt crisis.

"The method we will use to grasp this critical opportunity deserves serious consideration," Chen said, adding that China-Europe cooperation is not a zero-sum game but a mutually beneficial one.

The European Union is China's largest trading partner, while China is the EU's second largest.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the China-Europe comprehensive strategic partnership.

Zhang Yansheng, secretary-general of the Academic Committee of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a news conference after the forum that in the coming two to three decades, China will increase its middle-income population from 230 million to 630 million.

They will intend to buy goods and service of high quality rather than cheap things as the old generation did, Zhang said.

"China-Europe cooperation will enter a high-quality era," he said.

"The past three decades of our cooperation have been arduous, while the next 30 years will be the golden time."

Manolis Kefalogiannis, secretary-general of the New Democracy Party of Greece, said the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation raised by President Xi Jinping late last year will bring peace and more opportunities.

"Now the world knows China will import $10 trillion in goods over the next five years, the cake is getting bigger and bigger," he said.

Patrick Le Hyaric, representative of the French Communist Party and director of the L'Humanite newspaper, said: "I support the EU to learn more about China and get closer to China. China has a new Chinese dream, and that is also a dream about Europe, and the world."

The forum, which took place on Monday and Tuesday, focused on promoting cooperation for new breakthroughs in China-Europe relations.

Leaders of 44 political parties from 27 European countries took part. One party group from the European Parliament and some European regional parties and think tanks also attended.

Li Jinjun, vice-minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, told reporters he noticed European parties attending the forum included liberal, centrist and conservative political groups, standing for various ideologies and political guidelines.

The forum, initiated by the CPC, was first held in Beijing in 2010, marking the 35th anniversary of China establishing diplomatic ties with the European Economic Community, the predecessor to the present-day European Union. It is one of more than 60 dialogue mechanisms between the two sides.