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What to expect from the China-EU leaders’ meeting via video conference?

By Ou Jia (People's Daily Online)    09:38, September 12, 2020

Next week, President Xi Jinping will hold a video conference with Chancellor Merkel of Germany, President Michel of the European Council and President von der Leyen of the European Commission. This would be another meeting between Chinese and European leaders in just over two months. It shows that both sides place importance on China-EU relations and aspire to strengthen dialogue and cooperation.

This year is a significant year for China-EU diplomatic ties, as the two sides mark the 45th year into their relationship. Although COVID-19 undermined the chances of face-to-face exchanges between China and the EU, the two sides have since engaged in more frequent meetings through more flexible means online. Since June, important meetings including the China-EU Summit, the China-EU High-level Strategic Dialogue, and the China-EU High-level Economic Dialogue have been completed successfully. High-level communication between the two sides in green development and the digital economy have also produced fruitful results. Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of Central Commission for Foreign Affairs and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi have just concluded their respective visits to Europe, marking the resumption of face-to-face diplomacy between the two sides. Frequent high-level exchanges have enhanced the mutual understanding between China and Europe, advanced practical cooperation in various areas and made good preparations for the coming China-Germany-EU Leaders’ Meeting.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and EU are two strong forces, big markets and major civilizations in the world. What the two sides stand for, against and cooperate on is globally significant. Major forces are expected to do what they are supposed to do. Against the backdrop of changes unseen in a century and COVID-19, this coming meeting is important for not only China and Europe but the whole world, drawing attention and expectations far and wide:

- It is anticipated that China and Europe will lead international cooperation against COVID-19. As the virus is still spreading globally, the world economy is plunging into deep recession. China and Europe are at the forefront in vaccine development. Both sides stand that COVID-19 vaccines are global public goods and work to enhance their accessibility and affordability in the world. In the critical juncture of jointly fighting COVID-19 and working for post-COVID economic recovery, it is anticipated China and Europe will further enhance their unity and cooperation and lead the world to success against the virus. In this darkest hour for the world economy, we are expected to fully leverage our power as the twin-engine, resume dialogue and cooperation in various areas and contribute our share to world economic recovery.

- It is anticipated that China and Europe will deepen trade and investment cooperation. During the first half of this year, the trade volume between China and Europe have increased and for the first time in history, China is on track to becoming the EU’s biggest trading partner during the year. China and the EU account for one third of the global economy, we are two major economies and the major force for economic globalization. Various parties and especially the business sector are following closely the negotiation progress of the Bilateral Investment Agreement and the Agreement on Geographical Indications. It is hoped that China and the EU can further open up to each other, deepen business cooperation, enhance the well-being of the two peoples and work for an open world economy.

- It is anticipated that China and Europe will join forces in addressing climate change. China highly values ecological conservation. We have completed our emission reduction target two years ahead of schedule and are now actively looking at formulating medium and long term targets. The European Commission announced in its European Green Deal, striving to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Next year, China and Europe will respectively hold important international conferences on climate change, biodiversity, and conservation. It is expected that the two sides will play a leading role in green development, strengthen mutual support, jointly address global challenges, promote a green lifestyle and build a beautiful homeland.

- It is anticipated that China and Europe will strengthen cooperation in the digital economy. Though a new round of scientific and industrial revolution is emerging with a flourishing digital economy, there is still a huge deficit in global digital governance and blanks to fill in the rules regarding digital security. China has a burgeoning digital economy and the European Union is advancing an ambitious plan of digital transition. The two sides have huge potential for complementary cooperation. The Global Initiative on Data Security just proposed by China speaks volumes to China’s sincerity, openness and confidence in the field of data security. It is anticipated that China and Europe will jointly advance the digital economy, work to forge China-EU digital partnership and contribute to global standards and rules in the digital area.

- It is anticipated that China and Europe will jointly safeguard multilateralism. Multilateralism is essential for the development of all countries, especially for medium-sized and smaller countries. To safeguard multilateralism has become the biggest common understanding between China and the EU. Right now, unilateralism and hegemonic practices are rising up, which jeopardizes international rules and the international order. It is anticipated that China and Europe will uphold the commitment to multilateralism, take multilateral actions, observe multilateral treaties, strengthen multilateral institutions and prevent the world from repeating the mistakes of following the law of the jungle and engaging in cold wars.

This year marks the opening year for the new EU administration, and another German presidency of the EU in 13 years. China-EU relations are now enjoying a great opportunity for further development. It is believed that the China-Germany-EU Leaders’ Meeting to be held at this critical juncture will steer post-COVID China-EU relations to go further, inject impetus into all-round dialogue and cooperation between the two sides and bring more stability and positive energy into this world full of uncertainties.

The author is an International affiars observer.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Sheng Chuyi, Bianji)

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