The 9th EU-China summit on Saturday decided to launch talks on a
new partnership agreement between China and the European Union
(EU), which European Commissioner for External Relations Benita
Ferrero-Waldner hailed on Sunday as a "real breakthrough" for
boosting bilateral ties.
"The summit is excellent, the atmosphere is very good," said
Ferrero-Waldner in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on
At the summit on Saturday, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Finnish Prime Minister Matti
Vanhanen, whose country holds the EU presidency, and European
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, vowed to deepen the
comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU, and
decided to launch the talks on the new partnership agreement.
"It's a very important breakthrough yesterday," she
Ferrero-Waldner said the current legal framework for the
EU-China relations -- the Agreement on Trade and Economic
Cooperation signed in 1985 -- "is a trade agreement," and it fails
to reflect the reality of the current EU-China ties.
The EU-China relations are "much broader" now, said Waldner,
adding that the bilateral ties comprise many dialogues like
politics, trade, energy, education and climate change.
"Now even we have a joint project of setting up an EU-China law
school," she said.
"Therefore, the new partnership agreement would indeed show all
the breadth of our relations with China," the commissioner
Ferrero-Waldner vowed to work "diligently" to get the agreement
finalized as soon as possible.
As for the EU-China relations in general, Ferrero-Waldner said
the EU has always attached importance to its relations with
"We want a strategic partnership with China, we want work
effectively with China, because we both are giants in the
international arena," she said.
She noted that Saturday's summit discussed some major
international issues such as Iran's nuclear issue, the nuclear
issue on the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East and and the reform
of the United Nations.
"China is a very valuable partner to us," she said.
On bilateral trade and the rise of China, the commissioner
saidannual trade between China and the EU has surpassed US$200
billion, noting that the European customers "are benefiting from
Chinese goods of low prices."
"The rise of China is absolutely a great opportunity to Europe,"
On the issue of lifting an EU arms ban against China,
Ferrero-Waldner said "we are working towards lifting."
Premier Wen on Saturday called on the European side to make a
correct political resolution independently for lifting the arms ban
against China and granting China full market economy status.
Ferrero-Waldner said recognizing China's market economy status
is a "technical issue," and the key to the recognition is whether
China meets "relevant criteria" or not.
Barroso on Saturday listed four sets of criteria -- state
influence, accounting, bankruptcy law and reform of the financial
(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2006)