This month, China and the European Union are celebrating 30 years of official relations; relations that have evolved with time and it is time to ask ourselves about their future. China is currently having an exceptional economic growth but it also causes internal turbulence. It has to manage this new wealth and to maintain its growth while it reduces poverty and inequality, and respects the environment, but it will not be able to do it alone.
Sustainable development is a challenge for China and Europe. The decisive question for our children and grandchildren is if the natural ecosystems of the world will survive the pressure imposed by modern civilization. A recent UN report indicated that we have already entered the danger zone. The accelerated Chinese growth has a significant impact on the world energy consumption. China is rapidly becoming one of the biggest world importers of oil and gas. The 2004 World Energy Outlook report of the International Energy Organization foresees that the world demand for energy will increase in almost 60% by 2030 with China and India being responsible for two thirds of the increase. Massive investments will be necessary in order to satisfy the world energy demand. In addition, it will increase the emission of CO2. If there is no cooperation, the boost of Chinese energy consumption will contribute to further increasing climatic warming.
China must sell its policies to a world public. Most of the Europeans think that China wants to mold, and not to challenge, a balanced world order, a stringer United Nations and an effective multilateral system. But, in a global village, wrong perceptions may come up very easily and cause significant damage. The international community counts on Beijing to help solving the North Korean crisis. Likewise, China can play a constructive role in other regions of the world. As it signed a ten-year energy agreement with Iran, China is in a very favorable position to support the European Union efforts as to prevention of nuclear proliferation. Europe and the world have also watched China’s handling of its national problems in the field of human rights. China must urgently pay attention to the issue of freedom of belief.
It is time to substitute the old cooperation agreement between the Union and China that dates back from 1985. Our relationship has evolved, moving from a merely economic relationship to a relationship that involves the fight against terrorism, piracy and organized crime, as well as many other problems.
The political regulations of the European Union are strict but the fruit of cooperation are sweet. If we face our common problems together, China and Europe will significantly contribute to make the 21st century a century of hope.

Jordan Times (Jordan)
Daily Times (Pakistan)
The Independent (Bangladesh)

" The union and the dragon ", by Bernard Bot, Jordan Times, June 2, 2005.
" The Union and the Dragon ", The Independent, June 3, 2005.
" The Union and the dragon ", Daily Times, June 11, 2005.