The European Union (EU) employment and social affairs commissioner Vladimir Spidla is leaving for China Friday after a new labor contract law entered into effect in the most populous country.
An EU official said the main purpose of the visit is to hold policy dialogue and strengthen cooperation with China on employment and social affairs, where the two economies share a lot in common.
During his three-day visit, Spidla will sign a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a key think tank for the Chinese government, on the future policy challenges in areas such as employment, social security, demography, social dialogue and labor relations.
With regard to demographic change, the EU official said both the 27-nation bloc and China will experience a dramatic aging of their populations and see the beginning of a modest decline in population size after 2025.
Spidla is expected to open a joint seminar in Shanghai Monday to discuss how to respond to the structural changes linked to aging societies in both the EU and China, in terms of employment, economic and social policies.
The official said the EU with 27 member states is comparable to China with economically diverse provinces and it would like to share its experience in managing diversity and find common ground in China's drive to build a harmonious society.
"The idea of a harmonious society in China echoes, to some extent, to the EU's idea of trying to combine economic progress and social progress," he said.
Also on Monday, Spidla will meet with the EU Chamber of Commerce in China in Shanghai with the discussion focusing on corporate social responsibility.
Spidla's visit came after a new labor contract law was put into effect in China at the beginning of this year, which endows employees with better protection of their rights.
The EU official said the EU is prepared to have further discussion on the new law with China, but it will not be a detailed one during the commissioner's visit.
He said some EU companies operating in China may raise the issue when they meet Spidla Monday.
(Xinhua News Agency January 11, 2008)