EU seeks to increase mutual exchanges with China on education, culture, youth and research

The Commission is preparing to finalise plans for the launch of a "people-to-people" dialogue with China covering education, culture, youth and research. Its aim is to deepen understanding and mutual trust by supporting exchanges between the two strategic partners.

The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou is in Beijing to finalise plans for the launch of a "people-to-people" dialogue covering education, culture, youth and research. Commissioner Vassiliou will meet her counterpart in the Chinese administration, State Councillor Liu Yandong, to pave the way for the new framework for cooperation, which will be officially launched before the end of the year.

EU-China cooperation on education, training, culture, research, youth and multilingualism has rapidly developed over the past decade. The new EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue will represent a 'third pillar' in relations between the two partners, building on two previous cooperation agreements - the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue ('first pillar') and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue ('second pillar'). Concrete 'deliverables' already planned include the establishment of an EU-China Higher Education Council and joint scholarship schemes aimed at encouraging opportunities for EU and Chinese students and teachers to study in each other's territories. The two partners will also develop a joint strategy and programme for the 2012 EU-China Year of Youth, which also aims to contribute to better understanding and dialogue.

In recent years EU-China Schools of Business, Law and Renewable Energy have been launched with EU funding support. The EU-China International Business School (CEIBS), established in Shanghai in the mid-1990s, has received €33 million and is ranked among the global top 30 by the Financial Times. For the time being, more than 2000 Chinese students have benefitted from Erasmus Mundus grants to study in the EU, with 200 EU students going to China. In addition, around 550 Chinese researchers have received funding for research work abroad through the EU's Marie Curie Actions since 2007, some working on large scale international projects (worth a total of €314 million) and others involved in smaller schemes (worth €3.8 million). More than 60 Chinese universities participate in EU exchanges. Moreover, the Chinese government offers support to EU primary and secondary school educators and students who want to learn Chinese through the China-EU Language Exchange Project. A new joint EU-China scholarship scheme will soon be launched to ensure more balance and reciprocity in the numbers of exchanges.

Among the cultural programmes financed by the EU, the MEDIA Mundus programme supports international cooperation in the audiovisual sector, offering EU film-makers the chance to create networks with their Chinese counterparts. One of the aims of Commissioner Vassiliou's visit is to encourage more Chinese films in Europe - and more European films in China.