Thursday

26th Apr 2018

Focus

MEPs and China mark change in relationship

  • If anything, the meetings have helped the two sides to warm to each other (Photo: EUobserver)

With the aim of better understanding each other, members of the five big political groups in the European Parliament have met with members of the one big political group in the National People's Congress of China, in what has been described as a “changing” and "very friendly" climate.

The three-day meeting in Brussels - from Tuesday to Thursday (31 May) - was the third of its kind and brought together two delegations of more than 50 people each, including Wang Jiarui, the head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC), and Martin Schultz, the president of the European Parliament.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The politicians talked about a range of issues, including such hot potatoes as human rights, climate change, trade relations and the situation in Syria. "There was a very intense discussion on human rights [between Schultz and Wang]," German Green MEP Reinhard Butikofer, who chaired the meeting, told EUobserver.

The meeting came one week after MEPs endorsed a resolution condemning China for shielding its rapidly growing domestic market from EU companies, and amid political and economic turmoil both in China and the EU.

China earlier this year lowered its growth expectation for 2012 (from 8 to 7.5 percent) due to falling global demand. Politically, it is preparing for a change of the guards while still licking its wounds after two separate but equally embarrassing events - the spectacular fall of a rising political star and the escape of a blind activist under house arrest. For its part, of course, the EU is in crisis.

But despite the upheaval and intense discussions, relations have never been better, so it seems. "[The crisis] has created more space and opportunity for cooperation," Li Jinjun, vice-minister of the IDCPC, said on Thursday. In his opening speech on Tuesday, Wang called for “a new type of China-EU relationship”, based on “mutual respect” and “common development”.

Participants hailed the annual meetings, dubbed the EU-China High Level Political Parties and Groups Forum, as a binding factor between the two political powerhouses.

“We have strengthened our mutual understanding and trust,” Li said. “The kind of dialogue we have had was unimaginable a few years ago.”

Belgian centre-left MEP Veronique De Keyser, a loyal participant to the forum since the first in May 2010 in Beijing, told EUobserver that, if anything, the meetings have helped the two sides to warm up to each other.

“The climate is changing,” she said. “The tone was very direct, but very friendly. In Beijing, the climate was cold like a fridge.” Butikofer agrees. The atmosphere, he says, “was clearly more open, more candid” than before.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  11. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  12. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip

Latest News

  1. EU tells platforms to sort fake news by October or face new law
  2. Civil society chief: social media can't replace engagement
  3. The reality behind the €7 'Brexit bombshell visa'
  4. Commission wants bigger post-Brexit budget
  5. Whistleblowers could be enforcers of rule of law in Europe
  6. EU shelves Macron idea for 'European Darpa'
  7. Don't play EU 'games' with military HQs
  8. EU had a plan for Jordan - now it's time to make it work