The Socialists and Democrats Group president, Gianni Pittella, is leading a S&D delegation to China accompanied by Victor Boştinaru, S&D Group vice-president and responsible for foreign affairs, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero, member of the international trade committee and delegation for relations with Southeast Asia (ASEAN), and István Ujhelyi, vice-president of the transport and tourism committee and member of the China-EU parliamentary delegation.
At the meeting held in Beijing with relevant political Chinese authorities, Wang Jiarui, minister of international department of the Chinese Communist Party (IDCPC), and Chen Fengxiang, deputy minister of the IDCPC, president Pittella stressed the fundamental importance of Europe strengthening its political and economic cooperation with China, in order to bring a genuine contribution to global governance issues such as climate change, security and sustainable development. From a partly collaboration perspective, Pittella officially invited senior Chinese representatives to attend the S&D Group's plenary meeting, and agreed to study and setting up of different forms of cooperation.
S&D Group president Gianni Pittella stated:
"Our mission to China arrives at the right time, as both Europe and China are launching important investment plans: the EFSI and the new Silk Road, the so called 'one belt, one road'.
"In our talks, Chinese authorities openly confirmed their interest and willingness to participate in the Juncker Investment Plan, stressing the synergies with the new Silk Road. We warmly welcome this and share their interest in strategic collaboration with the 'one belt, one road' initiative. Any possible economic cooperation and synergies between these two projects must be explored in order to strengthen our political ties on global governance.
"In the view of the Bilateral Investment Agreement soon to be discussed at European level, we stressed the need for China to open its market to European investors, especially in terms of transparency, public procurement access, non-discriminatory treatment, property right respect and market access distortions.
"Lastly, as S&D president, I welcome the Chinese commitments on climate change. Even though they're from a different starting point, EU and China must get to the same common goal: to make the COP in Paris an ambitious and successful story, setting up a feasible legally binding post-2020 framework."
S&D MEP Victor Boştinaru stressed:
"Building up mutual trust between EU and China is the fundamental engine to put in place, not only important economic cooperation as the Bilateral Investment agreement, but also to strengthen our shared political ties and understanding. Only on this basis, without any intention to point the finger at China or to appear paternalistic, will we be able, as a European Union and as an S&D Group, to tackle crucial and still complicated issues such as human rights, NGO freedoms, labour standards, climate change and global security.
"We are aware that any step forward in the strengthening of our economic and political ties will have a global impact. Chinese authorities understand, on the other hand, that the European Parliament is a crucial player for ratification of the Bilateral Investment Agreement as well as for the granting of Market Economy status. Reinforcing EU-China global collaboration is therefore a responsible step to be taken for the good of mankind."