FP7 to increase ties to China

September 12, 2006

Brussels, 11 Sep 2006

The ninth annual EU-China Summit took place on 9 September in Helsinki, Finland. The 36-point joint declaration outlines areas of closer cooperation, particularly in areas such as energy security and climate change. As part of the agreement, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) will be used as a tool to increase cooperation and ties between China and the EU. The meeting was attended by Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, and Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council of China

Amongst joint declarations on trade, Iran's nuclear capability, the crisis in Darfur and the improving situation in Lebanon were declarations on areas of common interest for research.

Under article 18, the two sides agreed to increased cooperation to limit the spread of infectious diseases such as avian flu, SARS and HIV/AIDS.

In recognition of Lisbon agenda goals, the two sides looked at sustainable development. 'Sustainable development is one of the major areas in EU-China cooperation. The leaders agreed to step up the exchange of experiences with a view to building a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society. In this vein, the EU will enhance its cooperation with China, backing its efforts in her rapid economic development, to introduce a circular economy and to safeguard natural resources, including biological diversity,' reads article 19.

Another Lisbon goal, climate change, was addressed in article 20. Specifically, the two sides 'welcomed closer cooperation on the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and the start of cooperation on the research of near-zero emission power generation technology through carbon dioxide capture and storage.'

The EU is a world leader in carbon capture and storage, and this technology could be key in reducing the impact of China's power stations, many of which still run on fossil fuels. Article 20 also committed both sides to, 'further strengthen the dialogue and cooperation in this regard including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) processes launched to promote further development of international climate change policies.'

The two sides looked at energy security in article 21. Part of this declaration was diversification. 'The two sides underlined the importance of continuing to strengthen practical cooperation, particularly in the framework of the action plan on clean coal and the action plan on energy efficiency and renewable energy.'

In article 26 the two sides looked at intellectual property rights (IPR), and the need to protect them. 'The two sides recognised the importance of technology for their economic development and expressed the willingness to strengthen exchanges and cooperation on IPR protection in this area and support the contractual freedom between enterprises in the field of technology transfers under the condition of fairness, reason and non-discrimination'. Once again, a revamped IPR system is considered to be essential for continued European growth and prosperity.

Finally, and most importantly, FP7 will be used as a tool to increase cooperation between the EU and China. 'The two sides expressed the common wish to further the EU-China science and technology partnership and recognised that the China National Long and Medium Term Plan for Science and Technology Development and the 7th EU Framework Program provided a new opportunity to carry out cooperation of strategic importance. In this respect, they appreciate the involvement of Chinese organizations in the EU funded five year CO-REACH project, launched in Beijing in May 2005, to help identify priorities and appropriate channels for future S&T collaborations between China and Europe', according to article 28.

China-EU Science and Technology Year will be launched in October 2006, to promote greater EU-China cooperation. Article 28 also recognised that the two sides are already partners in several schemes, and that cooperation should be increased. These include the Galileo project and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project.

President Barroso said before the meeting: 'This year's EU-China Summit provides an opportunity to consolidate our increasingly broad and fruitful partnership and emphasize our political will to further expand and deepen relations. As two major players on the world stage, we will look at international issues such as non-proliferation in Iran and Korea, development issues, particularly in Africa, climate change, building on our joint declaration last year, and energy security.'

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner said: 'EU-China relations now span political and security issues, trade and economic co-operation, science and technology, environment, and sensitive questions such as human rights. We need a comprehensive agreement to cover all our activities, so that we can move this extremely important partnership to a higher level. I hope that the new framework agreement will help us deepen our strategic partnership and engage more effectively together.'

Other areas relating to research mentioned in the agreement include energy and transport strategies, civil aviation, and education.

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