European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Monday that EU's relationship with China is a mature one based on friendship when extending best wishes to Chinese people on the occasion of the Chinese lunar new year.
"It's a great pleasure ... to send, on my own behalf and on behalf of the European Union (EU), my best wishes for the people of China, to wish you all the success, all the prosperity during 2008," Barroso told Chinese journalists at the residence of the Chinese ambassador to the EU.
"I hope the Year of Rat will bring more prosperity and more progress to China."
The Spring Festival, the most important holiday for the Chinese, falls on February 7. The year of 2008, according to the Chinese calendar, is a Year of Rat.
The year of 2008 is very important for China as all eyes in the world will be on China for the summer Olympics in Beijing, said Barroso.
The Olympics will be a great occasion to showcase China's development and to enhance friendship between the Chinese people and other peoples of the world, including the Europeans, he said.
Barroso said he appreciated the progress in EU-China relations and saw commitments of both sides to make them even stronger in the future. He visited Beijing late last year and met Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao.
Barroso said the EU-China relationship is good, and improving.
Asked for comments on arguments that the EU's honeymoon with China is over, he said he would not be drawn into such characterizations.
"This is what I think is today's relationship with China: a relationship based on friendship and a mature relationship."
Maturity means the two sides are able to deepen points of agreement. On points of non-agreement, they are able to speak constructively and find a way out, he said.
"This maturity is very important because China and Europe have big responsibilities, not only in developing their relations, but also for the global community," said Barroso.
(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2008)