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Beijing, 4 May 2017
It is a pleasure for me to be here in Beijing, a city which I hold very dear since I have signed the first friendship and collaboration agreement between Beijing and Athens in my then capacity as Mayor of Athens in the late 1990s.
This time I came to China to discuss the challenges and opportunities for cooperation between the EU and China in the areas of mobility, migration and security.
Earlier today I met with Mr Guo Shengkun, the State Councillor and Minister for Public Security.
I am pleased to inform you that today we have launched the negotiations for a visa facilitation agreement, as well as an agreement on cooperation in combating illegal migration.
Today's step marks the second phase of the EU-China Migration and Mobility Dialogue.
A very important deliverable is the opening of Visa Application centres in additional Chinese cities, which should facilitate EU-China mobility in the future.
The negotiations that we have launched today are of key importance to facilitate and increase people to people contacts between the EU and China, and I hope they will progress very quickly.
We have also discussed about the need to increase cooperation on migration management, not only in relation to the migratory flows taking place between EU and China, but also at global level.
I encourage China to increasingly invest for the stabilisation and development of the regions of the world in Africa and Asia where migrant and refugees flows stem from, and to address root causes of migration.
China's support can also contribute to ensuring a fair sharing of responsibilities for the world's refugees in line with the outcomes of the UNGA Summit and Refugees Summit in New York last September.
China can also help the EU to better fight against migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean, having in mind that a certain number of rubber boats used by the smugglers are produced by firms operating in China.
We also discussed EU and China relations in security matters.
Both our sides have an interest in strengthening our cooperation in the fight against
- migrant smuggling,
- trafficking in human beings,
- drug trafficking,
- money laundering,
- criminal assets recovery,
- fight against organised crime and
I also noted and welcome the interest of China to discuss about cybercrime and fight against terrorism and we are ready to organise meetings at expert level soon.
We will need to use all the available channels to exchange information, share best practices, identify joint initiatives in these areas.
A key tool –although not the only one – will be the Europol-China Strategic Cooperation Agreement which has been recently signed.
Today we launched two negotiations and discussed a stronger cooperation on migration and security.
This will contribute in a very substantial manner, to a successful EU-China Summit on the 2nd June in Brussels, with concrete deliverables in areas of shared interest.