On April 3rd, China announced that two European leaders would be visiting China at the same time. French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will be visiting China from April 5th to 7th. What kind of voices will these European leaders bring to China, and what progress can be expected in the future of EU-China relations? Yangchen Evening News interviewed Herve AZOULAY, former senior executive of Schneider Electric , international consultant for the International Vocational Education Standards(SRVE), and professor at the Silk Road Business School (SRBS) in France.
Herve AZOULAY pointed out that Macron’s invitation to von der Leyen to accompany him on his visit to China sends an important signal to China and the world. “This invitation demonstrates that Europe is united and wants to speak with one voice on issues related to its relations with China,” said Herve AZOULAY. “It also shows that Europe wants to strengthen its relationship with China while defending its own interests and values. In fact, Europe wants to maintain its trade and economic relationship with China.”
“Economic modernization and development of high quality in China are important and necessary steps for China’s sustained growth and development,” said Herve AZOULAY. “China has made remarkable progress over the past few decades, but as the economy moves towards more advanced directions, it faces new challenges and opportunities. By prioritizing innovation, high-tech industries, and high value-added services, China can continue to develop its economy and become a global leader in these fields.”
Herve AZOULAY stated that Macron and von der Leyen’s upcoming visit to China is expected to promote EU-China pragmatic cooperation through multiple avenues. It may facilitate dialogue and engagement between China and Europe on common concerns, such as trade, investment, and climate change.
However, collaborations between China and France or China and Europe have been frequently disrupted by external factors in recent years. Regarding this issue, Herve AZOULAY repeatedly mentioned the importance of “understanding” and “respect”. He stated that removing barriers could be achieved through high-level visits, cultural and educational exchanges, and people-to-people exchanges. “We should adhere to the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, and through transparent and inclusive cooperation, strive to strengthen multilateralism and rule-based international order. Both sides can establish a strong and enduring partnership based on mutual benefit and respect,” said Herve AZOULAY.
As the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative approaches this year, Herve AZOULAY believes that the initiative has enormous practical significance for countries and businesses along the route. “The Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to bring economic growth and development to many countries in the region, especially those that have traditionally lagged behind in infrastructure and economic development,” said Herve AZOULAY. The Belt and Road Initiative, which was launched by China in 2013, aims to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa through infrastructure development and enhanced economic cooperation.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent visit to China had a wide-ranging agenda, including discussions on trade, investment, climate change, and international security issues. One of the key topics on the table was the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Upholding the principles of international law and respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are of vital importance. Speaking on the issue, Herve AZOULAY emphasized the importance of finding common ground and working towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “Both sides have a shared interest in promoting peace and stability in the region, and there is potential for consensus on this issue during President Macron’s visit to China,” he said.