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New EU youth website targets Chinese audience
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Amid the music of Slovak songs by Chinese university students to welcome him, Jan Figel, the visiting European Union Commissioner for Education, Training, Cultural and Youth unveiled a Chinese-language version EU Youth website yesterday.

Jan Figel, a native Slovak, launched the website at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), during his six-day trip to China.

The opening of the EU Youth website was the prelude to the signing of two joint agreements between the European Commission and the Chinese ministries of culture and education respectively in Beijing yesterday, with Jan Figel presiding.

The two sides explicitly acknowledged "the crucial contribution of culture to improving mutual understanding and tolerance" and the intent to "further the mutual recognition of academic degrees" of institutions between China and EU countries.

The joint agreements also specified the areas of cultural and educational exchanges between China and EU, including that of students, joint research and cultural projects.

"EU and China are already giving shape to a strategic and comprehensive partnership that covers the whole spectrum: from political cooperation all the way to economic and cultural exchanges," Figel said.

"I expect that, in a not so distant future, the strategy of academic and cultural cooperation that we are launching today will translate into stronger trade links between the countries of the European Union and China."

During the six-day trip, Figel will also discuss sport with his Chinese counterparts.

"This is the perfect time to talk about the impact of sport on world affairs, because the Beijing Olympic Games are less than 10 months away. The Olympics will bring tremendous opportunities for travel, exchange and dialogue," Figel said.

As to the Chinese language EU Youth website, Figel said that languages are the best channels for both sides to establish deep and lasting intercultural dialogue.

The Chinese version EU Youth website, based largely on existing text and web-based content from European Commission sites, includes news, education, sport and even travel information.

"I think this website would attract more Chinese youths not only for its linguistic convenience but also for its interactive content, like Europa GO games," Kang Shu, a second year student of English studies at BFSU told China Daily.

"I'm interested in getting more useful information from this website on EU's scholarship program, as I am one of the Chinese students who want to get a chance to see what EU is really like."

(China Daily October 23, 2007)

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