The 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue is launched

Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, and Cai Wu, Minister of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, have officially launched the year. Besides a large number of events and projects hosted by EU Member States and China, the year offers opportunities for Chinese and EU cultural institutions, organisations and other stakeholders to establish and develop structured and sustainable cooperation during 2012 and beyond.

On 1 February is taking place the launching of 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue. This year was designated by EU and Chinese leaders at the EU-China Summit in 2010. It seeks to build on the EU-China Joint Declaration on Culture of 22 October 2007, which led to increased cultural cooperation and dialogue, as well as launching policy exchanges on education and training, including multilingualism.

In May 2011, EU and Chinese leaders agreed to extend the scope of this cooperation by creating a 'third pillar' in the EU-China strategic partnership, through the 'EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue'. This will build on two previous cooperation agreements - the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue ('first pillar') and the High-Level Strategic Dialogue ('second pillar'). The people-to-people dialogue, which was announced in October 2011, will enjoy the same status as the other agreements and will have flexible structure with very low financial implications.

The EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue is the second in a series of thematic years in EU-China relations. 2011 was the EU-China Year of Youth. The 2012 EU-China Year of Intercultural Dialogue reflects a commitment by both parties to continue opening up opportunities for mutual understanding, sustainable cooperation and long-term policy dialogue.