Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Chinese Mission to the European Union (EU), hailed the progress in bilateral ties between China and Europe and expects closer cooperation with the EU under its new leadership.

Noting that China and the new EU leadership share many similarities in their ideology, Zhang expressed his hope for closer bilateral relations.

“A major event, which is the European Parliament elections and the change of leadership of the EU institutions, took place in EU this summer. We see that the new EU leaders give priority to developing the green and digital economy. At the same time, they emphasise the importance of multilateralism to address global challenges.

There are many similarities between China and Europe, which share common interests as well. We expect the new leadership of the EU institutions to maintain the stability and continuity of their China policy. They will work together with China to promote China-EU partnerships for peace, growth, reform and civilisation on the basis of mutual respect, fairness and justice, cooperation and win-win result,” he said.

In May, over 400 million people from the 28 European Union (EU) member countries voted to elect 751 members of European Parliament (MEPs) for a five year term.

Ursula von der Leyen, former German Defence Minister, is due to take office as the new EU Commission President on Nov. 1, and Charles Michel, Prime Minister of Belgium, will assume office as the new President of the European Council on Dec 1.

Zhang added that EU member countries are more and more actively participating in China’s Belt & Road Initiative.

“I have witnessed more and more concerns to and participation in the Belt & Road Initiative from EU members. Projects including the Piraeus Port in Greece and Smederevo steel plant are well underway. Over 17,000 trains passed from China to Europe.

And the connectivity platform has become one of the five largest cooperation platforms between China and Europe and a China-EU Joint Investment Fund was set up for this purpose. Chinese and EU leaders stressed their important consensus on aligning the Belt & Road Initiative with the connectivity project of the EU on different occasions,” he said.

The Ambassador also hailed the new progress made in cultural exchanges between China and the EU.

“People-to-people and cultural exchanges is one of the three pillars of China-EU relations. Since the high-level mechanism on cultural exchanges and dialog has been implemented for seven years, both sides have carried out close cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, media, sports, women and youth. We hosted the China-EU Tourism Year last year with big enthusiasm, both sides made tremendous efforts to organise about 100 events were held.

As two major civilisations, China and the EU will continue to play a positive role in people-to-people and cultural exchanges and cooperation and consolidate the public opinion foundation of bilateral relations so as to serve as an important facilitator for a community with shared future,” he said.