The just-concluded G20 Summit in New Delhi may not have been successful on some fronts, possibly due to differences among the member economies, but it provided a good opportunity for Premier Li Qiang to hold talks with European leaders and make them better aware of China’s policies.
At his meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on the sidelines of the G20 Summit on Saturday, Premier Li, in an obvious reference to the EU “de-risking” policy, said: “Risk prevention does not preclude cooperation, interdependence should not be equated with insecurity.” Li also met with European Council President Charles Michel in New Delhi. And in his meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Premier Li said China welcomes the United Kingdom to expand practical cooperation, and is willing to deepen cooperation with the UK in fields such as trade, investment, green development, and science and technology.
There are enough reasons for China and European countries to work together to make the G20 mechanism more resilient, and turn the grouping into a platform for effective coordination between the Global North and the Global South to achieve the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. First, China and Europe should deepen cooperation in green development in the face of increasing extreme weather events. Devastating forest fires in Canada, the US, Greece and Spain, the melting of ice in Antarctica, and severe floods and typhoons in many countries are some of the examples of extreme weather events. Japan’s discharge of the nuclear-contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea is another long-term threat to the marine ecosystem and human health. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived.” It is therefore the responsibility of all countries to take immediate climate actions to help build a sustainable and peaceful development environment. The G20 Summit’s call for “One Earth, One Family, One Future” best explains what needs to be done.
But since it’s doubtful whether the United States, the world’s most developed and technologically advanced country, would be willing to contribute to achieving this goal, the European Union should strengthen cooperation with other economies to make the best of its advanced green and low-carbon technologies. China’s cooperation with many EU countries, including Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark, on low-carbon, green cooperation has yielded some remarkable results. Yet China and the EU need to take more measures to ensure the free flow of green and low-carbon technologies, and establish carbon pricing and carbon-neutrality incentive mechanisms, while helping less-developed countries reduce their carbon emissions. Second, China and the EU can work together to propel global digital development through the G20. Some countries have resorted to technology blockades, thereby rupturing supply chains of the global digital industry.
Under such circumstances, if China and the EU work together under the G20 framework, they can build digital infrastructure and a global digital economy in which more developing countries can participate and help boost the global economy. They can also help less-developed countries develop and introduce digital payment systems and provide digital public services, as well as strengthen cooperation in digital trade documents, promote mutual recognition of electronic document standards, and make regional free trade agreements more open and inclusive. The two sides could also work with other economies to strengthen cooperation in drafting legislation and regulations on cryptocurrency to combat crimes such as human trafficking and money laundering. And third, China and the EU could work together to make the G20 more inclusive. That the African Union joined the G20 as a new member at the New Delhi summit shows the Global South should be involved in global economic governance. Growing global challenges have, on several occasions, prevented the G20 members from reaching a consensus, thus eroding the multilateral platform. And since China and the EU both uphold multilateralism, they should strengthen multilateral cooperation, and work together to make the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other multilateral trade and financial bodies more open and fair and increase the participation and say of developing countries. China has proposed the Global Development Initiative and taken concrete measures to help some less-developed countries out of serious public debt.China and the EU have more common interests than differences. And since they share the same vision of inclusive development, the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Civilization Initiative can help them achieve the goal of “One Earth, One Family, One Future”.
The China Daily