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Experts urge Europe to look toward Asia-Pacific

By Zhang Haizhou and Hu Yinan (China Daily)

08:52, December 05, 2011

BEIJING / LONDON - As the world's center of gravity shifts toward the Asia-Pacific region, concerns are growing in Europe that the former center of global geopolitics may be sidelined.

European politicians and analysts have urged Europe to shift its focus increasingly toward the Asia-Pacific, following Washington's strategic adjustment toward the region.

The rationale for Europe today is about power, which, in one aspect, is about being "able to play in a world that will otherwise be dominated by America and China", said former British prime minister Tony Blair.

A "strong Europe" is needed to leverage the collective power of European states, all of which are relatively small in size, Blair said in Beijing last week.

"Unless you come together, your individual countries - and that includes the UK - are not going to be strong enough," said Blair.

Commenting on what the US' ongoing policy shift towards the Asia-Pacific means for Europe, Blair said Washington "has always had a strong presence in this part of the world and continues to do so".

One of the things a strong Europe can do, he said, is to help the relationship work between the United States and China.

"I believe the relationship between America and China - a good and strong working relationship - is a vital part of making the world work today," Blair said.

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