Serge Abou, EU Ambassador to China

15:15, February 10, 2010      

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Dear friends,

It gives me great pleasure at this time of year to offer you greetings and good wishes on behalf of the people of Europe for the coming 12 months.

2010 will be an important year for both the European Union and China. In China, the focus of the world will be on Shanghai this year as it hosts the World Expo 2010. I am happy to inform you that the EU will participate with our own pavilion. We are currently busy organising a whole range of exciting cultural events and informative exhibitions.

The hosting of the Expo in Shanghai is yet another sign of the great progress that China has made over the last thirty years of reform and opening up. While much work still remains to be done, we are confident that working together in the spirit of friendship and cooperation which we have forged over the past years, the EU and China will continue to make a joint contribution to the greater good of humanity.

As we have seen through its stabilising role during the global financial crisis, China is a very important player on the world stage; but with such an important position also comes a great responsibility, not just to China and the Chinese people, but also to wider world.

While 2010 will be an important year for China, it will also be a significant year for the European Union following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, which introduces sweeping institutional changes designed to streamline decision-making and raise the EU's stature in international affairs, and should serve to further facilitate our relations and dialogues with third countries, including China.

2010 will be the "Year of the Tiger", and I am confident that with the same energy and dynamism of this magnificent animal, the EU-China relationship will move forward in leaps and bounds. Only working together as close partners will both sides be able to ensure further economic development and social reform, which will lead to the greater happiness and fulfilment for all our citizens.

The People's Daily Online is one of the biggest Chinese and multi-lingual websites on the Internet, with versions in many foreign languages, including many of our EU languages, so I wish all your millions of readers a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Serge Abou

EU Ambassador to China
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