The future of EU-China relations is in good hands

Written by Kristalina Georgieva on 29 June 2015 in Opinion

The longest standing EU-China cooperation programme is the training of interpreters, demonstrating both sides' commitment to good communication and partnership, writes Kristalina Georgieva.

Did you know that the longest-standing cooperation programme between the European Union and China is the training of interpreters? The EU-China interpreter training programme has been running for 30 years now, and has trained around 500 young Chinese officials in conference interpreting. 

I was recently in Beijing for a visit and was able to meet with some of the bright young minds currently participating in the programme, as well as alumni who have gone on to work in a wide range of positions in public service. What I saw left me confident that the future of EU-China relations is in good hands.

Today, the EU and China have over 60 high level and senior level dialogues, reflecting the wide-ranging scope of our exchanges. 


That includes on environment, for instance, and during my visit I participated in an advisory meeting of the China council for international cooperation on environment and development focused on the preparations of China's 13th five year plan.

The EU has been China's biggest economic partner for many years. Bilateral trade is well over €1bn a day and six million people now travel each year between the EU and China, three times the 2003 figure. 

The EU-China partnership has matured over 40 years to allow us to now also address international and global issues, such as fighting piracy in the gulf of Aden or negotiations on the Iranian nuclear fi le.

With all of this excellent cooperation on so many levels, it is fitting that our longest common programme remains interpretation. 

A good relationship, indeed a good partnership, is built on communication. Interpretation makes communication possible, even when we don't always speak the same language. 

So here's to many more years of EU-China communication and partnership.


About the author

Kristalina Georgieva is European commission vice-president for budget and human resources

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