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Europe – Asia Center

Europe – Asia Center: Successful Co-Hosting of the First Edition of the China-Europe Think Tank Forum

Brussels, June 20th, 2024

On Wednesday, June 19th, the Europe-Asia Center co-hosted, in collaboration with the Xinhua News Agency, the first edition of the China-Europe Think Tank Forum in Brussels.

The opening speeches were held by H.E. Ambassador Jean de Ruyt, Co-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, and H.E. Fu Hua, President of the Xinhua News Agency and chairman of the academic committee of the Xinhua Institute.

In his address, H.E. de Ruyt provided insights into the historical and geopolitical context of contemporary EU-China relations. Reflecting on China's remarkable development in recent years, the Ambassador noted that during his tenure at the UN, Belgium contributed more to the UN budget than China. He recalled the prescient prediction by then-Chinese Ambassador Wang Yingfan that China would likely become a leading global power within two decades—a forecast initially met with skepticism. In closing, H.E. de Ruyt underscored the imperative for Europe and China to collaborate in tackling global challenges while cautioning against the risks of economic de-coupling.

H.E. Fu Hua elaborated on President Xi's concept of "new quality productive forces," highlighting its foundation in astute observations of global technological and economic trends. He emphasized that this concept enhances understanding of productivity development laws, while expressing optimism that advancing new quality productive forces will facilitate the equitable sharing of development benefits between China and the global community, fostering worldwide peace, and prosperity.

H.E. Fabrizio Hochschild, former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations, emphasized that China's development of new quality productive forces is crucial not only for its economic growth but also for spearheading a new era of scientific and technological revolution, particularly through advancements in artificial intelligence.

H.E. Madame Violeta Bulc, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center and former EU Commissioner for Transport, noted that the partnership between Europe and China was a beacon of hope, demonstrating that through collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity, the two civilisations can build trust, joint engagement, and a sustainable, prosperous, and just future for all.

Professor Wei Shen, Vice-Chair of the Europe-Asia Center, provided a high quality summary of the event, and underlined the importance of Europe-China academic exchanges.

Other esteemed speakers have included H.E. Istvan Ujhelyi, Member of the European Parliament; Mr. Francois Serneels, Quality and Environment Manager of the Center for Agronomy and Agro-industry in Hainaut; Vincent de Saedeleer, Vice-Chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Economic and Commercial Council; and Ms. Shada Islam, Visiting Professor at the College of Europe.

The forum was widely regarded as highly successful, fostering constructive discussions and strengthening cooperation between China and Europe on critical issues.

For Matic Gajsek, Director for Europe at the Europe-Asia Center, the event marked a perfect Auftakt to the China-Europe Think Tank Forum Series: "Outstanding speakers, an ideal location in the heart of European democracy, and optimistic voices for EU-China relations—this is exactly what Europe, China, and the world need more of."

For press enquiries:

Jonathan Schwestka, Project Coordinator, Europe – Asia Center


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