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EU-China: end of an era, new beginnings


18 Sep 2012


Global Europe

Press Release by the Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN) for the

EU China Summit on 20 September 2012

18 September 2012, Brussels - The 15th EU-China Summit on 20 September will mark an historic watershed for two reasons. It occurs at a critical moment in Europe’s fight to overcome the Eurozone crisis. But it will also mark the last meeting in Brussels attended by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. He comes to Europe at a time when the Chinese economy is threatening to slow down (growth has recently fallen below 8 per cent) and when there has never been more pressing needs for the two major economies of the modern world to work together.

EU-China relations are critical for the economic, political and security stability of the world. Along with US-China relations, they are probably the key relationship of modern times. And yet there is great complexity as the EU faces China, and in critical issues like the recent flare up of problems between China and Japan over maritime border issues, and the US and China over economic issues, the voice of the EU can sometimes be difficult to hear.

This does not reflect what is actually happening on the ground. The EU and China have huge interaction, with dialogues, meetings, people-to-people contact, vast trade and finance flows and a long track of political dialogue. Over the course of the Summit, the EU-funded, independent Europe China Research and Advice Network (ECRAN) will ask how, through these rich and dense networks of interaction, both sides can find the best modes of engagement to deal with current and future challenges, especially at a moment when they have reached an important crossroads for both of their economic and internal development.

ECRAN has invited 15 experts, listed below, to be available to comment, write and analyse this critical relationship, at a time of crisis. They will be able to share their insights, deep knowledge and viewpoints with a wide audience, so that the relationship we all have to take seriously is more widely known and understood.

Team Leader of the ECRAN project Professor Kerry Brown said, `As the Summit unfolds, the key questions they will try to answer will be whether we are any closer now to a joint strategy on energy and the environment, on trade, on security, on the challenges of the most rapidly urbanising generation in history, and on mutual trust. Ten years after Wen Jiabao assumed the position of Premier and became responsible for the EU-China relationship in the Chinese government, and three years after the passing of the Lisbon Treaty and the creation of the European External Action Service under President Van Rompuy and High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton, are we making any progress? What do we need to do to make things work better? That is the critical issue that needs to be on people’s minds as they look at this Summit.’

EU President Van Rompuy said “We share a common determination to move the EU-China relationship forward. Our strategic partnership is a key element for the global architecture. The EU and China have entered definitely into the age of inter-dependence. What happens in Europe’s growth affects China and vice versa. Our objective is to continue to turn our growing inter-dependence into mutual opportunities.”

ECRAN Experts


Robert Ash

Fraser Cameron

Alice Rezková

Zorana Bakovic

Pierre R Defraigne

Andrew Small

Bernt Berger

Deljana Iossifova

Rod Wye

Oliver Bräuner

Katarzyna Nawrot

Shujie Yao

Louis Brennan

Raffaello Pantucci

Richard Youngs


ECRAN will also be issuing daily press digests and briefs in the buildup, during and after the Summit at

Press Enquiries:


Ekaterina Sitnikova         Email                                                Mobile + 32 495 84 52 88 / + 44 787 22 83 595

Deborah Forsyth              Email                            Mobile + 32 485 805 165