On October 6, 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao attended the opening ceremony of the first China-EU High Level Cultural Forum in Brussels together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
"Culture is a bridge that brings together hearts and minds and creates a bond for deepening understanding and trust between states," Wen said in a speech delivered at the opening ceremony. "It has a longer-lasting impact than political exchanges and a more profound influence than economic exchanges on the way we live." "This is a creative event in the history of our cultural exchanges. It symbolizes a new stage in our cultural interactions and a step forward in the overall China-EU relations," said Wen.
As the main birthplaces of the Oriental and Western civilizations, China and Europe have made tremendous contributions to the progress of human civilization, Wen said. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the bilateral cultural exchanges have made steady progress, Wen said. Especially since the beginning of the new century, China has consolidated and deepened exchanges and cooperation with EU countries in the cultural sector with a more open attitude and gradually formed a new pattern of high-level, all-round cultural exchange and cooperation. "The cultural exchange has enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between China and Europe and imbued our relations with vigor and vitality," he said.
"When we look at China-EU cultural relations, we need to adopt a strategic perspective and have an open mind," Wen said. "We need to make our exchange of ideas and culture more extensive, in-depth and enduring," he said. China and the European Union (EU) should also promote interactions between their cultural institutions and encourage cooperation in the cultural industry and related products and services, he added. "I ardently hope that more people in China and EU countries, especially the younger generation, will get to know more about each other's national conditions and cultures through direct engagement and first-hand experience so as to better promote the steady and healthy growth of China-EU relations," Wen said.
In the global context, he said, China advocates full respect for the cultural tradition, social system and development path of every country and calls for an open and inclusive approach toward different civilizations. "We sincerely hope to learn from the achievements of all civilizations through extensive cooperation and work toward a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity," he said.
Barroso said strengthening EU-China cultural exchanges is of great significance to the development of EU-China strategic partnership. The China-EU High-Level Cultural Forum provides a new important platform for EU-China cultural exchanges and dialogue, which will be conducive to building up mutual understanding, trust and respect and further enhance EU-China relations.
The Forum is co-sponsored by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and the European Commission.