Roundup: Cooperation between EU, China has bigger role to play in today's multilateral world, experts say

Source: Xinhua| 2021-02-05 18:17:08|Editor: huaxia

Aerial photo shows a China-Europe freight train bound for Helsinki, Finland departing from Putian Station of Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province, Nov. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Hao Yuan)

The recent completion of China-EU investment agreement negotiations reflected the resolution of EU and China to strengthen cooperation, and set global norms and standards together, said Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, former Romanian ambassador to China.

by Marcela Ganea

BUCHAREST, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- In an era defined by multilateralism, cooperation between China and the European Union (EU) will have a bigger role to play and benefit both sides, experts attending a webinar on EU-China relations said on Thursday.

The online event was organized by the Middle East Political and Economic Institute, the EURISC Foundation and the Center for China Studies, all based in Romania.

Almost 100 attendees and speakers, including diplomats, scholars and researchers from seven countries, shared insights and prospects on EU-China relations during the webinar.

The recent completion of China-EU investment agreement negotiations reflected the resolution of EU and China to strengthen cooperation, and set global norms and standards together, said Viorel Isticioaia-Budura, former Romanian ambassador to China.

Chinese-made Volvo XC60 vehicles exported to Europe via China Railway Express (Chang'an) are seen at the Port of Ghent in Belgium on July 4, 2019. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)

"We, Westerners, often underestimated and dismissed the Chinese decisions. From now on, we'll have to pay attention to China's decisions and policies because they reflect a long-term projection," said Isticioaia-Budura, adding that since the 1980s, Chinese policies have been very pragmatic.

Werner Fasslabend, former Austrian minister of defense, emphasized that China's development is not just a temporary phenomenon, saying "Europe needs this relationship with China in strategic sectors."

It is important that in December 2020 the EU concluded the investment agreement negotiations with China, "showing that it really wanted investments and intense cooperation with China," he said.

Feng Zhongping, vice-president of and a researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations from Beijing, as well as a partner of the EURISC Foundation for the last 25 years, stressed that the EU and China enjoy great opportunities to work together to reduce uncertainties and conflicts in today's world.

"The biggest challenge is the world's becoming interdependent, but global cooperation and global governance are missing, therefore, the lack of cooperation among the key global powers -- China, the EU, the U.S. and Russia -- is the biggest challenge, along with the impact of new technologies, cybercrime, or climate change," Feng said.

A China-Europe freight train bound for Duisburg of Germany pulls out of the Wuhan terminal of China Railway Intermodal in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, March 28, 2020. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

"All countries pursue their own interest but globalization redefines the meaning of national interest. Both China and the EU support multilateralism. The EU-China economic relations will work," the Chinese researcher said.

Catia Miriam Costa, a researcher with the Center for International Studies in Portugal, said that "the EU and China have the same goals for peace, security and partnerships. We'll have to understand the role of each country."

With the EU showing a strategic autonomy, its trade with China is considered very important by the 3,000 trade associations based in Brussels, said Dan Luca from the independent pan-European media network Euractiv, underscoring the importance of an Asia partnership for the bloc.

Francisco Jose Leandro, an expert on the Belt and Road Initiative from the University of Macao, said "there is nothing wrong with having different interests, we can make a compromise. It's important to maintain dialogue and to clarify when needed."

"The EU connectivity strategy looks at options to narrow the physical restrictions," the expert said, stressing that the EU-China investment agreement is "extremely important, we have more in common than differences."

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