China, EU ink first-ever joint declaration on youth

08:23, January 12, 2011      

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All-China Youth Federation President Wang Xiao (L) and Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, show the joint declaration at the opening ceremony of the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth at the headquarters of EU, in Brussels, capital of Belgium, Jan. 11, 2011. Chinese and EU leaders on Tuesday signed a first joint declaration on strengthening dialogue and cooperation on youth issues as the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth kicked off here. (Xinhua/Wu Wei)

Chinese and EU leaders on Tuesday signed a first joint declaration on strengthening dialogue and cooperation on youth issues as the 2011 EU-China Year of Youth kicked off in Brussels.

Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said at the opening ceremony that the year would open up new horizons for young people from Europe and China by enabling them to share experiences and learn from each other.

"I hope that such exchanges will inspire concrete ideas for cooperation and establish long-lasting partnerships," Vassiliou said.

The opening ceremony was the first of a series of exchange activities to be held throughout the year in Europe and China. The EU-China Year of Youth was jointly initiated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso at the 12th EU-China summit held in 2009.

"The Year will provide an interactive platform for European and Chinese young people to enhance mutual understanding and friendship through creativity, tolerance and openness. We hope they can open a new page of people-to-people contacts between Europe and China," said Wang Xiao, President of the All-China Youth Federation.

Wang led a delegation of 100 Chinese young people who arrived in Brussels earlier this week to meet with their 100 European counterparts for the first time.

The 200 young representatives from the EU and China also exchanged ideas on a variety of issues including volunteering, mobility, culture and creativity prior to the opening ceremony. Those from China will also visit the European Parliament, the College of Europe and EU's Court of Justice later this week.

The yearlong program, co-hosted by the European Commission and the All-China Youth Federation, aims to promote intercultural dialogue and strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between European and Chinese youth, as well as encourage young people to care about and support the development of EU-China relations.

The EU-China Year of Youth also coincides with the European Year of Volunteering and the 10th anniversary of the International Year of Volunteering, thus voluntary activities involving young Europeans and Chinese will be encouraged throughout the Year.

With Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang wrapping up his three- nation Europe tour on Wednesday, the Sino-EU relation has had a good start this year in terms of political mutual trust and economic cooperation, while the kick-off of the EU-China Year of Youth is expected to break new ground in all-round exchanges among young people.

"The EU and China are now more than just trading partners, but also strategic partners. We should work together for a future of prosperity," said Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of China to the European Union.

Source:Xinhua
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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/7257603.pdf