The European Union (EU) wishes to take the Sino-EU strategic partnership forward this year by increasing cooperation in improving energy efficiency and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Serge Abou, the EU ambassador to Beijing, said energy security and climate change were priorities for the EU this year and neither issue could be effectively addressed without China's participation.
He said the European Commission wished to work with China to help the latter "promote energy standards and savings through the development and deployment of near zero emission coal technology on carbon capture and storage."
The EU would like to share its regulatory expertise and standards, he said. The European bloc was keen to ensure China's early engagement in the application of the new technology.
Analyzing the current state of bilateral relations the ambassador said China and the EU were moving toward a meaningful and realistic relationship -- differences remained but were being managed effectively.
He said the two had maintained frequent high-level exchanges and noted that three more senior EU officials including Trade Commissioner, Peter Mandelson, were to visit Beijing before the summer.
Abou said the recently launched negotiations for a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement including updating a bilateral 1985 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, currently the only legal basis for cooperation, marked a good beginning for bilateral cooperation this year.
Though the EU "looks forward to the timely conclusion of negotiations of the new agreement", Abou said, he couldn't give a timeframe for the completion of the "complex and wide-ranging" document.
He said it would take "as long as it takes" but hoped to make substantive progress by November when the annual China-EU summit is held in Beijing.
In addition to trade the agreement will provide a comprehensive framework for the 22 sectors in which China and the EU already hold talks including energy, the environment, agriculture, transport, customs, education, information, science and technology.
"Negotiations for new agreement in various forms are going smoothly," said Abou.
Calling it the first major project of 2007, Abou said the Europe-China School of Law was aimed at expanding the knowledge of Chinese legal professionals of European and international law and would help European professionals, academics and students to widen their knowledge of Chinese law.
He said the EU would contribute 18.2 million euros ($23.5 million) to the school. It'll l be run as a not-for-profit partnership between a group of leading European and Chinese academic institutions.
The law school is one of the three cooperation projects signed during EU Commissioner for External relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner's last visit to Beijing. She and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing launched the negotiations for a new partnership and cooperation agreement. The others relate to protection of intellectual property rights and business management training.
(China Daily February 2, 2007)