First Chinese Think Tank to Visit Europe since Pandemic

July 21 , 2022

Seated at the two ends of the Eurasian integration network, China and the EU both embrace the idea of multilateralism and serve as anchors of global stability. However, tensions have begun to simmer between these two central players due to the aftermath of the global pandemic, Russia-Ukraine conflicts, economic turmoil, energy and food insecurity, and climate and environmental crises. Mounting rifts and diverging positions on international and domestic affairs risk undermining the confidence and mutual understanding that have been a hallmark of China-EU bilateral relations.

Following its successful US trip, CCG’s Delegation of Experts, comprised of CCG president Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang, CCG secretary general Dr. Mabel Lu Miao, and CCG fellow Wang Wei, went to Europe after they completed its Track II visit to USA They went to Europe facing  an uncertain and delicate political environment. They conducted informative and constructive meetings and dialogues with their counterparts and relevant organizations in EU countries.

Co-organized a Joint Symposium with EPC in Brussels

CCG and the European Policy Centre (EPC) held a joint seminar at the EPC headquarters in Brussels titled “EU-China relations at a crossroads: Looking for a new modus vivendi”.  More than 30 scholars from Chinese and European think tanks participated in the seminar, which was also a platform for the release of a report by the European Commission’s “China-EU Think Tank Exchange” project titled China-EU Relations at the Crossroads. CCG was the Chinese partner for this project which is funded by EU Commission.

Exchanges with Influential European Think Tanks and Foundations

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

CCG delegation visited the headquarters of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung in Berlin, where they met with Isabel Weininger, Policy Advisor for Southeast Asia, and David Merkle, Head of China Operations. Discussions touched on international exchange and cooperation, challenges to global governance and China-German economic cooperation in the post-pandemic era.

The Global Solutions Initiative

The delegation also visited The Global Solutions Initiative (GSI) in Berlin and met with Dr. Markus Engels, Secretary General and former President of the European Parliament, Rémy A. Weber,  Project Manager, and Elisabeth Schröder, Project Coordinator. They discussed the G20 cooperation framework, the T20 Think Tank Dialogue, global governance, and the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) initiated by CCG.

The Bruegel Institute

CCG’s delegation visited the Bruegel Institute in Brussels, where they spoke with Maria Demertzis, Interim Director and former Researcher fellow of the European Commission and of De Nederlandsche Bank; Giuseppe Porcaro, Head of Outreach, Governance and Human Resources and former Secretary General of the European Youth Forum; Alicia García Herrero, Senior Fellow, Chief Economist, and Adjunct Professor at several universities and Nicklas Veron, Senior Fellow of both Bruegel and PIIE. Their dialogue covered recent developments in China-EU relations and bilateral economic and trade cooperation as well as geopolitical impacts on Europe.

Asia Society France

CCG’s experts visited Asia Society France where they met with its Co-Founder and President, Serge Dumont, to discuss issues including globalization and people-to-people exchanges between China and France.

 

High-level Roundtables

Breakfast Meeting with the “China-Bridge” Initiative

The “China Bridge” Initiative and the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA) held a special breakfast meeting with the theme “Europe and China: The Road Ahead” exclusively for CCG’s delegation, which engaged in in-depth discussions with more than 20 representatives from the business community, including Hans-Peter Friedrich, President of “China Bridge” and Vice-President of the German Bundestag, and Michael Schumann, Vice President of “China Bridge” and Board Chairman of BWA. Discussions mainly focused on constructive relations between China and Germany, the development of bilateral economic and trade relations and people-to-people exchanges.

Special Breakfast Meeting with CWD

CCG’s experts attended an interactive and informative breakfast meeting hosted by the China-West Dialogue (CWD). Guests included Richard Carey, former Chairman of the OECD Development Assistance Committee and Françoise Nicolas, Senior Research Fellow and Director of the IFRI’s Centre for Asian Studies.

Meetings with Politicians and Officials

Former German Ambassador to China, Michael Schaefer

The delegation visited the BMW Foundation and met with Michael Schaefer, former German Ambassador to China and former Chairman of the Foundation. Discussions focused on people-to-people exchanges between China and Germany.

Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin

CCG’s delegation of experts visited La Fondation Prospective et Innovation (FPI) in Paris, where they met with Serge Degallaix, FPI’s General Director. They also met Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French PM and Secretary General of FPI during the Aix-en-Provence conference. Their discussions revolved around China-EU (French) cooperation, the global south development, UN SDGs and global governance.

Ban Ki-moon, 8th UN Secretary-General

CCG’s experts met with the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Paris. The delegation showcased examples of CCG’s cooperation with the UN over the years, focusing on UN SDGs and the Global Young Leaders Dialogue (GYLD) program launched by CCG in particular.

Arancha Gonzalez Laya, former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs

CCG’s delegation met with Arancha Gonzalez Laya, former Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, former WTO Chief of Staff, and the 3rd Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po in France. They exchanged views on further think tank and academic exchanges between Sciences Pro and CCG.

Dr. Martin Tummel, German Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In a meeting with Dr. Martin Tummel, the Deputy Director General of the East Asia and Asia-Pacific Department of the German Foreign Office, the delegation explored the possibilities in people-to-people exchanges between China and Germany.

Key Leaders in Multilateral Organizations

Boris Ruge, Munich Security Conference

CCG’s delegation met with members of the Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Berlin, including Boris Ruge, Vice Chairman, Julia Hammelehle, Policy Advisor, and Randolf Carr, Interim Head of Policy. Their discussions dealt with geopolitical security, global public health and the energy crisis.

Justin Vaïsse, Paris Peace Forum Organization

In a dialogue with Justin Vaïsse, a French historian, intellectual, and current Director General of the Paris Peace Forum, the delegation and Mr. Vaïsse discussed China-EU relations, China-French cooperation and broader academic exchanges.

Leading International Forum

Les Rencontres Économiques d’Aix-en-Provence

Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang attended the 2022 Les Rencontres Économiques in Aix-en-Provence, where he delivered a speech titled “Rebuilding Multilateralism”. Other panelists included Dominique Moisi, Special Advisor to the Montaigne Institute and former IFRI Co-Founder and Deputy Director; Mari Pangestu, World Bank Managing Director of Development Policy and Partnerships; Yannis Stournaras, governor of the Bank of Greece; and Ngaire Woods, Founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University.

Chinese Embassies in Europe and EU Mission

Embassy of China to France

The delegation visited Ambassador Lu Shaye to France in Paris, presenting CCG’s research on China-Europe relations and international exchanges  between think tanks. They also discussed socioeconomic status in Europe and cooperation between China and France. Ambassador Lu acknowledged CCG’s accomplishments in promoting international communication and encouraged CCG to enhance position and efforts as a non-governmental think tank in promoting friendly China-French relations.

Embassy of China to Germany

CCG’s delegation visited the Embassy of China to Germany in Berlin, where they spoke with senior diplomats, including Mr. Zhang Junhui, Chargé d’Affaires and Mr. Sun Hongjun, Minister Counselor. Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang presented CCG’s efforts and achievements to promote Sino-German related research and think tanks exchanges.

Mission of China to the EU

CCG’s experts visited the Mission of China to the EU and met with Wang Hongjian, Chargé d’Affaires in Brussels. After a warm welcome, Dr. Henry Wang presented work that CCG has done in researching China-EU relations and mutual learning between think tanks. Their discussions also touched upon the international landscape, China-EU relations, and hopes that CCG will continue to promote friendly bilateral relations.

Heads of International Organizations

Assistant Director-General of UNESCO

The delegation visited Gabriela Ramos at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris where she serves as Assistant Director-General for the Social and Human Sciences, Inclusive Policy Lab Expert, and the Chief of Staff to the G20/G7/APEC in the OECD. A discussion on international peace, people-to-people exchanges, social inclusion, and SDGs was followed by an overview of various programs including UNESCO’s youth program and CCG’s GYLD, and ended with a consensus on future exchanges and collaborations.

Deputy Director-General of UNESCO

CCG’s experts met with Ambassador Qu Xing, Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, and discussed SDGs, people-to-people exchanges, education and technology.

Representatives from the Overseas Chinese Community in France

The delegation met with preeminent representatives from the overseas Chinese community in Paris, including Xu Bo, Chairman of the French “Friends of Wu Jianmin” Association, Chen Xinhua (Xavier), an experienced professional in the Chinese and global energy industry, and Zhou Suyan, Institutional Relations Director at EDF and an energy economist. Discussions mainly touched on UN SDGs and outlooks on China-EU cooperation.

Interviews with International Media

TV Berlin

 

 

CCG’s delegation visited TV Berlin, where Dr. Henry Wang was interviewed by Peter Brinkmann, a senior German journalist.

European Mandarin TV

 

Dr. Henry Wang was interviewed by European Mandarin TV at UNESCO in Paris.

As China’s leading non-governmental think tank, CCG undertook this ground-breaking with the goal of promoting understanding and improving China-EU relations after a nearly three-year gap since Covid-19 made person-to-person exchanges nearly impossible. This series of high-level dialogues and discussions in Europe comes at a crucial point as global politics face increased risk and bilateral exchanges with the EU have been sharply curtailed. CCG’s active engagement with international think tanks and other stakeholders is a positive  step toward repairing frayed and calloused ties at the think tank track II level. Overall, organizations and individuals that met with the delegation in Europe were enthusiastic about this first round of Track-II think tank exchanges with China since the pandemic began. Many individuals also expressed a strong desire to visit China in person as soon as possible as the quarantine policy continues to improve in China.

 

[CCG Global Engagement Tour]

 

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