EU- China Forum - Tackling China's Economic and Social Challenges: A Role for Europe

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EU- China Forum - Tackling China's Economic and Social Challenges: A Role for Europe

Summary

For months, the European Union (EU) and the world have been riveted to the once-in-a-decade leadership change in China. Though speculation abounds as to whether the new seven-man Standing Committee of the Politburo will be reformers or take a more conservative stance towards governance, “China’s new leaders face old and well-known problems,” noted moderator Shada Islam, Head of Policy at Friends of Europe.

The appointed future President, Xi Jinping, and Premier, Li Keqiang, have demonstrated that they recognize the daunting array of economic and social challenges facing the country and have shown a willingness to tackle them head on, she continued.

They have vowed to fight corruption, narrow the urban-rural income divide and deal with environmental issues. Moreover, the new Chinese leadership must strive to meet the quality of life aspirations of China’s growing and increasingly influential middle class.

Finally, there is much pressure to rebalance China’s economic growth model and change from an export-driven economy to one based on domestic consumption, investment and innovation. “The current model of economic development that has demonstrated impressive growth over the last three decades is no longer valid,” she concluded. “It needs to be transformed.”

About

About

The rise in China’s global economic and political clout has raised expectations that Beijing will seek a higher profile on the international stage. China’s new leaders, however, are likely to spend more time, energy and money on addressing internal challenges and meeting public expectations. How can the European Union help China to tackle its national economic and social challenges and meet the key concerns of China’s growing middle class?

The debate was followed by an invitation-only dinner organised by the Arenberg Foundation.

Schedule

Schedule

Welcome and registration
Debate
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The rise in China’s global economic and political clout has raised expectations that Beijing will seek a higher profile on the international stage. China’s new leaders, however, are likely to spend more time, energy and money on addressing internal challenges and meeting public expectations. How can the European Union help China to tackle its national economic and social challenges and meet the key concerns of China’s growing middle class? How much pressure is there from the Chinese public as regards quality-of-life improvements such as a cleaner environment, higher food-safety standards, water security, and social protection? Can the EU assist China as it seeks to meet the diverse demands of its “urban billion”- and an ageing population? How difficult will it be for China to undertake the much-needed switch from exports and labour-intensive manufacturing to growth based on domestic demand and innovation? What are the key areas for future cooperation between Europe and China?

Speakers

John Farnell

Principal Adviser in the European Commission Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry

Viorel Isticioaia Budura

Managing Director for Asia at the European External Action Service (EEAS)

Lina Song

Professor and Chair in Economic Sociology and Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham

Gudrun Wacker

Asia Senior Fellow, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Germany

Zhang Lirong

Secretary-General of the China Forum at Tsinghua University’s Center for International Security and Strategy

Zhang Xinghui

Brussels Bureau Chief for the China Youth Daily

Moderator

Shada Islam

Managing Director at New Horizons Project

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