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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Song Zhe at the Opening Ceremony of the Spring Festival in European School Brussels II

Your Excellency Managing Director Isticioaia-Budura,

Director Richard Galvin,

Members of the Faculty,

Dear Students,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Happy New Year!

We are excited to celebrate together with you the Chinese New Year here in the European School Brussels II. First of all, on behalf of the Mission of China to the European Union, I wish everyone a happy and successful year in the Chinese Year of Rabbit. And thank you Director Richard Galvin and members of the faculty for your time and effort in this event so that we can spend such a wonderful day here on this beautiful campus. I would also like to welcome students and teachers from Shanghai who have just arrived yesterday. Thank you for traveling all this far to Brussels and share with us your delightful New Year wishes!

Like Christmas to western countries, the Spring Festival is the most important holiday in China. There are special traditions in China, that you will experience in today’s event, here in this hall and afterwards in the New Year Market which is better known as a “temple fair”. All across the country, people try to get back to their families no matter how far away they are from home. And on the New Year Eve, families get together for a sumptuous dinner. For all the Chinese people, the Spring Festival is a holiday of reunion, family, harmony, and peace.

The Spring Festival is also the right moment to make plans for the New Year. Whatever our plans are, they require diligence and hard work. For the young people, I hope that you will enjoy your school years for expanding vision, knowledge and wit, tap your potential to the fullest extent, and grow into a generation of lofty purpose and aspiration. For China-EU relations, we need to plan with vision, start early, and work unswervingly to constantly grow our ties. On the 11th last month, we launched the China-EU Year of Youth and welcomed here in Brussels one hundred representatives of the young Chinese people. While they were here, they have developed profound friendship with youth representatives coming from across Europe. Today, we have the pleasure of welcoming another group of 30 students from Shanghai Experimental School. I am sure that the friendship you grow with your European brothers and sisters will plant a tree of friendship in the European School Woluwe.

The Year of Youth is the first thematic year event between China and the EU throughout the 35-year-long history of our diplomatic ties. It offers a perfect opportunity for our young peoples to have a better understanding about each other. So on our part, we will continue to strengthen cooperation with our European counterpart, organize more events like this, and create more opportunities for our young peoples to meet and talk. We want to do this, because we absolutely understand that friendship and understanding are essential for a proper dialogue between different cultures and civilizations. And as we develop stronger appreciation of each other, so will we consolidate the popular support of China-EU ties in the long run.

I strongly believe that with our joint care and support, we will see a forest of friendship trees between our two young peoples, burgeoning, growing, thriving, and towering, just like the tree of friendship between the European School Woluwe and Shanghai Experimental School.

Dear Friends,

We Chinese say, a good harvest depends on the spring sowing. Efforts made today will translate into achievement of tomorrow. I’m full of confidence that the seed of peace and friendship that we keep to our heart today will tomorrow reward us with friendship and a brighter future of China-EU relations.

And finally, let me conclude by wishing everyone a very happy New Year!

Thank you!

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