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Brussels On The China-India Bandwagon

  • February 22nd, 2007
  • Posted by EUA Editor

china-eu-trade-2004-resize.jpgNo stone is being left unturned to ensure Brussels keeps pace with the emergence of China and India as major world players, on the present wave of economic growth.

Most recent initiatives have been entrusted to the EU External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who went to China in January (16-18.1.07), and then to India (15-19.2.07), last week announcing a grant of special economic aid to that country.

Work is pressing ahead to up-date relations with China in keeping with the new economic reality of China’s advance in international trade – not to say in diplomacy and military politics.

The Commissioner’s itinerary included meetings with senior political leaders including the Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, and Trade Minister Bo Xilai; the focus was to launch negotiations for a new, and well-overdue Partnership and Co-operation Agreement (PCA).

Present relations are based on a 1985 accord, with a run of step-by-step adjustments since then. (See EUAustralia, Farm Trade, 31.10.06)

Was the Commissioner satisfied with the mission?

“The EU prizes its relationship with China very highly,” she said.

“This strategic partnership is the key to achieving progress with our goals, from global security to addressing climate change. Together we represent almost one third of the world’s population… Twenty years ago the EU and China were trading partners. Now we are strategic partners with a huge range of co-operation activities.”

As for India?

“India is forging ahead.

“The EU wants to play its part in the emergence of India as a more prosperous nation, playing its role on the international stage on the key issues of our day,” the Commissioner said.

She was announcing (17.2.07) an assistance package for India, EU 470-million over the coming seven years (A$780.7-million;

Money would go to joint work against climate change and other environmental concerns, “promoting dialogue of employment and social affairs – in order to help India address the most recent challenges of its economic reform process”; and initiatives in health and education including changes in public administration, deepening school enrolments, and training of teachers.
EU diplomats point out that their dealings with China and India are comprehensive, as well as business and trade, always taking in issues of human rights, the environment, maintenance of peace, and nuclear proliferation.

Picture: China-EU trade accord signing, 2004; EU archive