By He Yin
China and the EU have to be two major forces for world peace and stability, two major markets for world development and prosperity, and two major civilizations for upholding multilateralism and improving global governance, said Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Xi made the remarks when meeting with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen via video link on the evening of June 22.
Xi’s proposal has chartered the course for the China-EU relationship to grow more solid and mature and reach greater heights in the post-COVID-19 era. China and EU account for 1/3 of the global economy. Their sound interaction carried out at the critical moment of the global fight against the pandemic not only has sent a positive signal for joint anti-pandemic efforts, cooperation and global economic recovery, but also will inject more stability and positive energy into the instable and uncertain world.
Cooperation and win-win results have always remained a basis for the bilateral relationship between China and European Union (EU) in the past 45 years. The trade volume between the two sides now is 300 times more than that when they just established diplomatic ties, and eight million visits are exchanged between them every year. China and the EU have established dozens of dialogue and consultation mechanisms in different areas and at different levels, and their cooperation has been extended to peace and security, environment, science and technology, culture, education and health.
China and the EU have jointly built a partnership for peace, growth, reform and civilization, and continuously deepened their comprehensive strategic partnership. They enhanced cooperation under multilateral frameworks such as the United Nations (UN), jointly promoted global public health government, and worked together to cope with global challenges such as climate change, so as to make their relationship more globalized and strategy-oriented. China-EU cooperation has improved the welfare of the two peoples, and serves as an important stabilizer in the ever-changing world.
Facing the severe COVID-19 pandemic, China and the EU offered mutual help to overcome difficulties. The heads of two sides maintained frequent exchanges, and carried out constructive communication over emergency material supply, the steady and smooth functioning of global industrial and supply chains, and strengthening macroeconomic policy coordination.
China and the EU offered huge medical materials to each other, and maintained smooth operation of the China-France “air bridge.” China has sent multiple medical teams to support Europe’s fight against COVID-19, which left a beautiful story of China-Europe joint anti-pandemic efforts. The two sides established joint expert team, and multiple video conferences were arranged for Chinese and European scientists and medical workers to share experiences. Besides, the fully loaded China-Europe freight trains also offered strong support for European countries in the pandemic.
Italy’s former Prime Minister Romano Prodi described China’s donation as a sign of friendship and solidarity, saying he hopes that the world understands that China and Italy are really in the same boat.
The strong vitality of China-EU relations demonstrated at the special moment once again proved that “all roads run parallel without interfering with one another.” China and EU have different civilizations and systems, but they do not have conflict of fundamental interests. Both sides adhere to multilateralism, safeguard the open world economy and are committed to seeking welfare for the people in their exchanges. They pursue the same goal and act in one, no matter in combating COVID-19, accelerating drug and vaccine R&D cooperation, supporting the World Health Organization (WHO), or promoting international cooperation within the UN and G20 mechanisms, and jointly supporting Africa’s anti-pandemic efforts.
Chinese and EU economies are deeply integrated, and their open cooperation in the process of economic revitalization will set an example for and lead the world. For instance, the “fast track” program between China and Germany is a highlight in the global anti-pandemic efforts.
It demonstrated that China and the EU are partners that share opportunities. They have larger space for cooperation than competition, and far more consensuses than differences. As Germany is about to chair the EU, German Councilor Angela Merkel recently stressed that the EU has a great strategic interest in maintaining cooperation with China.
Though the pandemic is spreading globally and unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise, solidarity and cooperation are still buzzwords for China-EU high level exchanges. China and EU share infinite cooperation potential, and the two sides will work closely to advance bilateral political agendas and bring their relations onto new levels.
A series of consensuses were achieved at the recent 22nd China-EU Summit, which indicated that China-EU relations are comprehensive, strategic and mutually beneficial. Both sides agreed that China-EU economic and trade cooperation is reciprocal, and expressed the hope for an early investment agreement that is comprehensive, balanced and high-quality.
As two major forces, two big markets and two great civilizations, China and Europe can make a difference for the world by demonstrating what they stand for, what they oppose and what they can achieve in cooperation, Xi said. His remarks profoundly explained the significance of developing China-EU relations. The two sides shall firmly stick to mutual respect, seek common ground while shelving differences, look for harmony in diversity, and constantly enhance mutual understanding and trust, to expand common interests in cooperation, solve problems in development, and make the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU more influential in the world.
The two sides shall join hands to seek new opportunities in crisis and changes, constantly enhance the welfare of the two peoples, and make contribution to the common development and prosperity of all countries.