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At the first official meeting between the European Union and China since the new EU leadership in December 2014, scheduled for later this month, director of policy at Friends of Europe, Shada Islam, said the summit would take the relationship to a new level.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Islam said there were possible synergies between the EU and China on building a digital economy and cooperation in EU-China connectivity, which would provide opportunities for both sides to work together on the “Belt and Road” transportation initiative.

Moreover, she said the European side was “expecting China to confirm its participation in the EU’s investment plan for creating jobs and growth.”

“These two developments will really inject more energy and more stability into the relationship, taking it to a new level,” said Islam.

She said both China and Europe have two key imperatives: jobs and growth. They need to create jobs for new entrants in the labor market and they need growth to ensure continued prosperity. In politics and security, they both need to build a more stable and prosperous world, and especially a more prosperous neighborhood. In trade, both want further trade liberalization, and know how important it is to keep away from protectionism.

“These are signs that the relationship is becoming more diverse and also more focused on practical questions where both sides can work together and learn from each other,” she said.

Noting that discord over trade questions would crop up from time to time, Islam said what was important was that these questions could be resolved in a “timely and non-confrontational” manner.

Concerning global issues, Islam said the world needed to work together to ensure peace and that meant working with China.

“If there is a good chemistry, the upcoming summit will set the tone for EU-China relations for the next few years,” she said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will attend the 17th China-EU leaders’ meeting here. Apart from the meeting, Li will also visit Belgium and pay an official visit to France, including a visit to the headquarters of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.

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