From 16-18 July 2018, the Commissioner for Regional Policy, Corina Creţu, led a team from the Commission to China for the annual EU-China High-Level dialogue on regional and urban policy, which was held at the headquarters of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Beijing. She also addressed the Thirteenth High Level Seminar on “Regional Innovation and High-Quality Development of Regional Economy” held in the city of Zhengzhou. Since mid-2017, Zhengzhou has been one of 5 Chinese participants in city-to-city cooperation under the EU’s International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme alongside 5 EU counterparts. The IUC programme supports city-to-city, sub-national and inter-regional cooperation to spur sustainable development and build partnerships across the globe and is funded by the EU's Partnership Instrument.
At the High-level dialogue, NDRC was represented by Vice-Chairman, LIN Nianxiu. He said, “the EU dialogue on regional policy has been a model for other EU-China sectoral dialogues”. Commissioner Creţu and Vice-chairman Lin agreed that the regional policy seminar should be upgraded to a Forum in the main programme of the EU-China summit of 2019 in Brussels. Under IUC, it was agreed to launch a joint study on regional innovation strategies and policies and to add more cities on each side to city-to-city cooperation. The meeting concluded with the signature of a Joint Declaration by the current (2018) generation of EU and Chinese cities, witnessed by the Commissioner and the Vice Chairman.
At the seminar, Commissioner Creţu delivered the closing remarks alongside the Executive Deputy Mayor of Zhengzhou (and acting Mayor) and the Executive Vice-Governor of Henan province, whom, earlier, she had met bilaterally. She said that the IUC is “the most ambitious effort to promote decentralised cooperation between EU regions and cities, and their counterparts across the world” and that the programme was about creating “an international community of cities”. She used the occasion to announce the launch of a competitive start-up fund under IUC to award technical assistance to selected high quality proposals leading to short-term actions within the city-to-city pairings. Two senior members of the European Parliament also spoke at the seminar, Mr Jan Olbrycht and Mr Lambert Van Nistelrooij where they underlined their support for international diplomacy at the regional and city level, and the importance of city-to-city cooperation under IUC. They were part of a group of MEPs on a fact-finding mission to China taking place at the same time as the Commissioner’s visit.
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- Publication date
- 7 August 2018
- Service for Foreign Policy Instruments