Foreign Affairs
Human Rights

Address by Jerzy Buzek, President of the European Parliament, at the University of Nanjing on 'EU-China: strategic partnership in light of the challenges for global governance'

Nanjing -
Friday, May 28, 2010

Dear Professors,
Dear Students,
Dear Friends,

I would like to first thank you for inviting me today; I always feel at home when I enter the halls of a University.

As some of you may know, my true vocation has always been that of a scientist and academic. I am an engineer not a political scientist.

The science of politics came later in life but my passion has always been knowledge, and passing on knowledge to the next generation.

Dear Students,

The 9th of May is Europe's birthday. Sixty years ago the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Robert Schuman, established the first European Community which pooled sovereignty in coal and steel.

It integrated two strategic industries and made war between former enemies impossible.

China, and this city especially, has experienced the horror of war at first hand. The massacre of Nanjing foreshadowed what would happen in Europe and in other parts of the world during the Second World War.

But in this sad story there is also a story of hope. Even amid the horror, a German industrialist negotiated a "safe zone", most of it around your University, which allowed thousands of innocent civilians to be spared.

Our European Union today is based on negotiations, on finding compromise, on solidarity so that your generation does not have to witness or experience the massacres of Nanjing, the destruction of Warsaw, or the bombing of Rotterdam.

Today, Europe is an integrated and reunited continent. The EU has twenty-seven member states. We have a new Treaty, a new Commission and a new Parliament. I think that this is a good moment to reflect on our relationship and where the EU-China partnership is going in the future.

Dear Friends,

The new Lisbon Treaty will help Europe better coordinate its policies both internally and externally - and we hope, help all of us to develop a new way of dealing with the rest of the world.

The world we live in today is multipolar but, this does not mean there are no common challenges we need to face together.

In this new century, I believe that we need a new form of global governance. We need to 'modernise multilaterism' - as my friend, the President of the World Bank, Bob Zoellick has put it.

It is clear that the traditional transatlantic partnership between Europe and America is no longer enough. However, it is clear also that a G2 model of America and China is not an option. we must look beyond bilateral relations and alliances!

In this second decade of the 21st century, the relative power of both Europe and the United States - and the rest of the so-called "West" - is already decreasing.

By the year 2025, OECD countries will produce only 40% of the world's wealth, as compared to 55% in 2000. Asia's share will increase to 38%, practically on a par with that of the OECD.

But new power also means new responsibility. Governance is not just about international relations, it is also about how countries manage the challenges we all face.  

Dear Friends,

China and the EU need to cooperate - with each other, but also with other partners around the world. Our relationship can and should make us stronger and should not be seen as a threat, but rather as an opportunity.

We all know the problems we face today - economic insecurity, energy dependency, climate change, migration, terrorism. Common action on these fronts is essential if we want to absorb the inevitable shocks of globalisation in an efficient and harmonious way.

And in addressing these issues, we need to find ways of bringing on board other countries such as Russia, India and the other regional powers. They also must have a sense of ownership since they too are stakeholders in this world's governance.

I often use the small example of combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden.

For the first time Chinese war ships operate next to Russian, American, European and South Korean vessels. Why? Because these pirates are a threat to the 30 000 ships which sail through this passage. Ships which are bound for Europe, and for Asia.

We have a common interest to make sure international trade is not halted. As we have common interests in other issues.

Dear Colleagues,

For examples, without your help, we will not solve the problem of climate change, and "heal our planet" as US Vice President Al Gore once said.

But we should see climate change also as an opportunity.

China is a leader in green technologies. Your enormous market and economies of scale are helping to bring down the cost of solar and wind energy. You already have a 30% share of the global market for solar panels. Shenyang wind turbines are bought around the world.

You are investing heavily in environmentally friendly technology such as carbon capture and storage, but you also need to be more proactive in the governance of the environment.

Your position in Copenhagen was helpful, we got the numbers we need but now we need to get binding targets. Without China, without India and Brazil, there is no global deal on climate change.

Dear Friends,

The new global governance has to also be based on common standards, common principles, and universal rights.

If we expect our trade to be free, our financial markets to be open, our goods and services to be sold without barriers, then we need to have a common approach.
We also have to have a common approach on the free exchange of ideas, on the free exchange of information, because we are living in a global community and we expect Chinese citizens to be full members of this community.

A community of equal partners, friends and colleagues who take responsibility for the challenges we all face.

Dear Students,

The European Union is based on four freedoms - the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people. Today, we are adding a fifth freedom. The freedom of movement of knowledge.  

In the era of global exchanges, knowledge becomes the most important value because it allows for innovation, it stimulates new areas of research and development, it brings new ideas, and it creates debate and discussion.

But as you know, sitting here in this prestigious University, knowledge can only be used effectively if it is freely shared.

Thank you for your attention.