Brussels, 17 May 2005
Scientific links between the EU and China were strengthened with the adoption of a Joint Declaration on EU-China Research Cooperation on 13 May.
The declaration was made at a joint forum attended by EU Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik and China's Minister for Science and Technology, Xu Guanhua.
The renewed partnership will involve the following:
- upgrading the existing science and technology (S&T) policy dialogue through annual meetings at ministerial level;
- giving a high profile to S&T in the overall Partnership Agreement between the EU and China which is currently in preparation;
- further exploiting the opening up of the EU's framework programme and of the Chinese programmes 863 (technology) and 973 (basic sciences) to the other party;
- stimulating and developing common initiatives, in particular in fields such as the information society, health, environment, nanotechnologies, hydrogen and aeronautics;
- introducing initiatives to increase the mobility of researchers between China and Europe;
- promoting standardisation for key technologies, in particular in the fields of the environment, safety, health, and for consumer protection purposes.
The delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia states that recent changes have made it necessary to reassess the EU-China partnership. These include the continuous development of China's S&T capacities, as well as its integration into the world economy and the EU's sharper focus on knowledge within the context of the renewed Lisbon strategy.
'The importance of the growing Chinese market offers long term opportunities for cooperation. Its increasingly qualified workforce and lower labour costs make it at the same time a tough competitor and an ever-expanding commercial power. It is therefore necessary to ensure mutual interest and overall balance between China and Europe within the globalised economy,' states the EU delegation.
There are currently more than 100 joint research projects involving around 300 million euro bringing together scientists from Europe and China. China participates in around four per cent of all EU framework programme projects, and is also an important partner for Europe in major undertakings such as Galileo (Europe's satellite navigation system) and ITER (the international thermonuclear experimental reactor).
Discussions in Beijing took account of a study on the future of the EU-China 'strategic partnership for knowledge, growth and development' carried out in 2005 by scientists from both regions. 'The study demonstrates that Europe and China are both confronted with the same major strategic challenges concerning growth, competitiveness and employment, regional and social cohesion as well as sustainable development,' reads the EU statement.
The joint forum took place against the background of celebrations to mark 30 years of diplomatic relations between the EU and China.