BEIJING — The consensuses reached between China and the European Union (EU) at their virtual meeting Monday will significantly contribute to the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, experts worldwide have said.
Underlining Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the meeting that China and the EU are not rivals, but partners, Sylwester Szafarz, former consul general of Poland in the Chinese city of Shanghai, said the meeting’s outcomes can be a powerful stimulus to the world recovery, for example in the field of people-to-people cooperation and new technologies.
Szafarz said that China and the EU already have a rich heritage of cooperation in all key areas, which is a valuable and solid foundation for the promotion of their ties in the future.
“China and the EU will be a guarantee of the reconstruction and rebirth of our entire civilization, ensuring peace, strengthening security, developing win-win cooperation and building a better tomorrow for the whole world,” Szafarz added.
Wilson Lee Flores, a columnist of The Philippine Star newspaper, said the meeting, the first official one between Chinese leaders and the new EU leaders, is very important for the world economic recovery and efforts to overcome the pandemic.
Cooperation between China and the EU that in total account for one third of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) can be dynamic catalysts of robust world trade and economic growth at this critical moment, he said.
He suggested that the two sides step up cooperation in vaccine and drug development and enhance support for the World Health Organization, among other measures, to jointly combat the pandemic.
During the 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the two sides are committed to concluding the China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement in 2020 and reaching a comprehensive, balanced and high-level agreement.
For Berthold Kuhn, an expert on sustainable development with the Free University of Berlin and senior advisor to the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, the agreement is of key importance for both sides, as China is shifting from an export-led to a domestic demand-driven growth model, which offers new opportunities for the EU and China.
In order to boost global economic recovery, Kuhn said that China could make efforts to support the European Green Deal, a roadmap for making the EU’s economy sustainable, and the EU could support the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative.
Spanish economist and former member of the Spanish parliament Ramon Tamames said that the good relationship between China and the EU is better embodied amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Noting that “the two sides must reconsider a free trade agreement so as to inject flexibility into bilateral trade,” Tamames expressed his positive attitude towards European leaders’ capability to seize the vital opportunity for cooperation.
“The stalled world economy could restart from the trade between China and the EU,” he said.