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Congratulation letter of President Barroso to Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of China at the occasion of the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of EU-China relations
2005-05-12 00:00

Brussels, 4 May 2005

José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission

Dear Prime Minister

EU-China relations have witnessed remarkable developments over the last 30 years. Since 1975, China has opened up to the world and has developed to become one of the world's leading economies. China is now not only a major partner of the European Union in trade and investment; China has become one of the main pillars of the multilateral world order based on the UN, a vision of the world that the European Union shares wholeheartedly.

Over the past thirty years, the European Union has also changed. We have expanded to a Union of 25 countries and the European Union today is much more than the 'Economic Community' it was originally. It has taken on important new tasks in areas as varied as, for example, the environment, Research & Development and migration. And we now have a Common Foreign and Security Policy, including a Security and Defence Policy. These developments not only strengthen the role of the European Union as a global player, but also make it a more important partner for China across the board.

The current extent of EU-China relations is truly impressive. Not only do we regularly exchange views on foreign policy issues, but we also hold talks on many levels in a number of more technical, but no less important fields: from trade, economics and finance to regional policy, from competition policy to agriculture and many other domains, including satellite navigation under the 'Galileo' programme. The list of our 'sectoral dialogues' is very long and with good reason: the European Union has much knowledge to offer China, and also much to learn from China's own experience.


His Excellency
Mr. Wen Jiabao
Prime Minister
People's Republic of China

This dense network of contacts, together with our political dialogue, cements our mutual friendship. Our relations are also enriched by people-to-people contacts, be it among scientific researchers, tourists and their hosts or among students. Indeed, an estimated one hundred thousand Chinese young people now study in the European Union and the number of European students in China is on the rise. These multiple networks and exchanges bolster our relations now and will underpin them in the longer term.

All partners have their differences, especially those who come from diverse historical and cultural backgrounds. We are no exception. We do have different views on important issues, particularly in the field of Human Rights. However, our relationship is solid and we can afford to discuss these issues in a mature and open manner. I trust that through constructive dialogue we will be able to build bridges that span our differences, so that we can grow closer together.

The future looks promising for the EU-China partnership. Our mutual economic integration can only grow yet further, with increasing trade and investment in both directions. Our experts and officials will intensify their cooperation to increase the knowledge content of economic growth, as the future will increasingly require. And in the international arena, the European Union and China have the potential to coordinate their policies ever more closely, based on our shared belief in multilateralism, and to act as a powerful force for good in the world.

On the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the European Union and China, I offer my congratulations to China's leaders and to China's people. The European Union and China have come a very long way in the past thirty years. And we have the makings of a partnership that will serve us well in the new century. Let us build on our achievements, to the benefit of our citizens, future generations and to the world at large.


José Manuel Barroso

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