What is it about?
Over the last decade the EU and China have been closely cooperating in the areas of education & training, culture, multilingualism and youth. Cooperation consisted of regular policy dialogues at government level, as well as concrete outputs in terms of joint projects and events.
Since 2012 all these activities have been integrated under the EU-China High Level People-to-People Dialogue (HPPD), the third pillar of EU-China relations, complementing the other two pillars – the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue and the High Level Strategic Dialogue.
Why is it needed?
The HPPD is the overarching mechanism which accommodates all EU-China joint initiatives in the field of people to people exchanges. These initiatives stem from the conclusions of leaders' dialogues and senior officials' meetings where long-term objectives are set, best practice is exchanged and areas for future cooperation are explored.
The HPPD should help build mutual trust and consolidate intercultural understanding between EU and China.
What has been done so far?
The first round of the EU-China HPPD was held in Brussels on 18 April 2012. On that occasion Commissioner Vassiliou and former State Councillor (now Vice-President) Liu Yandong signed an HPPD Joint Declaration and endorsed a document with follow-up actions .
As a follow-up to the first round of the dialogue, an HPPD Forum was held in Brussels in the afternoon of the same day.
In November 2012 Commissioner Vassiliou and State Councillor Liu Yandong met again in Beijing to take stock of the positive progress of the HPPD-related actions. On that occasion Commissioner Vassiliou and Minister of Culture Cai Wu adopted a Joint Declaration on EU-China cultural cooperation and participated in the China-EU Multilingualism conference at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU).
On 25 April 2013 the first meeting of the Higher Education Platform for Cooperation and Exchanges (HEPCE) took place in Brussels. On the occasion Commissioner Vassiliou met Vice-Minister of Education Du Yubo to discuss HPPD's future perspectives.
In the summer of 2013 an EU-China language initiative was carried out in EU universities to enrich the professional development of Chinese foreign language teachers.
On the occasion of the 16th EU-China Summit held in Beijing on 21 November 2013, the two parties adopted the "EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation". One of its four chapters is devoted to people-to-people exchanges
On 25 November 2013, the EU-China Expert Seminar on Youth Entrepreneurship was held in Brussels. It was co-hosted by All China Youth Federation and European Commission's Education and Culture Directorate-General.
In March/April 2014 there was the first visit ever of a Chinese President to the EU. During that visit, President Xi Jinping recalled the success and positive achievements of the EU-China HPPD .
The second round of the EU-China HPPD was held in Beijing on 6 September 2014. On that occasion Commissioner Vassiliou and Vice-President Liu Yandong signed an HPPD Joint Communiqué and updated the follow-up actions document .
A joint congratulatory letter from Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy supported the HPPD proceedings.
On the occasion of the 17th EU-China Summit held in Brussels on 29 June 2015, the two parties reiterated their support for the Strategic Agenda for Cooperation, including its people-to-people chapter.
The third EU-China HPPD took place in Brussels on 15 September between Commissioner Navracsics and Vice-Premier Liu Yandong. This HPPD aimed at celebrating the 40th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations. The two parties signed a Joint Statement reiterating the commitments taken in the previous editions. Thematic panels on education, culture, youth and gender equality were held as side events. Detailed information on the 3rd HPPD and related events are available on the HPPD webpage (please use the password: hppd2015).
On 11 October 2016 the first China-EU Education Ministers Conference took place in Beijing, with the Sino-Europe Forum on Education Policy Think Tanks held in the margins. Many topics were discussed, including the progress in the participation of China in the EU-led U-Multirank and Tuning initiatives.
What are the next steps?
The next round of the HPPD is scheduled to take place in China in 2017. At the latest EU-China Summit, it was agreed that 2018 will be the "EU-China Year of Tourism"