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Former Italian PM: stronger people-to-people bonds vital for B&R success

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

05-14-2017 14:41 BJT

By Li Shouen, CCTV.com Panview Editor-in-chief; Feng Siyao, CCTV.com Reporter

Addressing more than 400 delegates participating  the thematic session on "People-to-People Connectivity", one of the 6 parallel sessions of the Belt and Road Forum held here in Beijing, former Italian Prime Minister and now the President of Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Massimo D'Alema  called for rigorous and constructive dialogue between all levels and across all sectors of our societies, of our people, to construct strong people-to-people bonds to bring "Hearts Together" and  make "Prosperity Shared", and in the long run, for ambitious initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative to become facilitators for a future of shared prosperity.

Here is the full text of his speech.

 Italian Prime Minister and now the President of Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Massimo D’Alema called for rigorous and constructive dialogue between all levels and across all sectors of our societies.

Your excellences,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honor to be addressing you today, here, in beautiful Beijing, at such a prestigious gathering. I would very much like to thank the Communist Party of China for the very kind invitation to offer these remarks on such an important topic.

I represent here the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the only progressive political foundation at European level.

Since our creation, we have worked intensively on fostering and strengthening a substantive dialogue with the European Union’s global strategic partners, such as China. The questions that our discussions today will centre upon are questions that FEPS for long incorporated in its research work, trying to act as an intellectual catalyst for dealing with the complexity of this truly global, vital relationship between the two sides.

It is an undeniable fact that the relationship between China and Europe is one of the most important in the world.

Our strong and deep ties are now moving forward on an impressive positive track, but they are rooted in a long history of connections between our two civilizations. It was from Venice that Marco Polo set off on his famous expedition to the east in 1271, returning to Europe with incredible stories and experiences about the cultures, peoples and traditions he encountered. But this rich history in Sino-European relations spans centuries, aided by the Silk Road system, a modern reincarnation of which brings us all together today, which has existed for over 2,000 years.

In 2015 we celebrated the 40th anniversary of EU-China diplomatic relations. This was a landmark that allowed us not only to look back at the major achievements in this relationship, but also to turn to the future and explore the common path that will be followed in the future.

As we look forward, we can say that there is ample room for policy convergence, and we have seen the first signs of this convergence in the latest months and years.

On climate change, on economic openness, on the defense of globalization, and on respect towards multilateralism and multilateral institutions, these are all areas where we have seen important signs of mutual understating and convergence of interests emerging, a point that I think will be of paramount importance both for China and for Europe.

In this regard, I also believe that strong practical projects and initiatives that reflect both sides’ key priorities and interests, the primary of which is the Belt and Road initiative, will be important in keeping this positive track unstopped by the challenges that will for sure arise and bring us closer together.

Yet, as is always the case, a lot remains to be done.

In our ever-changing global environment, our relationship needs to evolve as it is growing.

"Hearts Together, Prosperity Shared", the theme of this panel discussion, cannot just be a slogan. For our relationship to grow, and for ambitious initiatives such as the Belt and Road initiative to become the facilitators for a future of shared prosperity, the scope of cooperation and the range of synergies need to go beyond a top-down approach.

We need to ensure that both our words and our actions are carefully designed to:

promote progressive and inclusive policies and projects that respect the principles of parity, reciprocity, equal opportunities

promote mutual understanding and exchanges between civil society, notably in the fields of education, research, multilingualism, and youth

establish and develop sustainable cooperation, that takes strength from our historical roots of friendship, and project them to a better, stronger future together.

Rigorous and constructive dialogue between all levels and across all sectors of our societies, of our people, will be critical if we want not only sustain this relationship, but also to further enhance it in the future.

FEPS is a member of the Silk Road Think Tank Association, and in this capacity, we have emphasized that the most crucial component of the success of the plan is precisely constructing strong people-to-people bonds between our communities and societies.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In a world of shifting global realities and at a time when the Sino-European relations have reached a very important level, we are urged to work in order that this relationship fully achieves its very promising, true and full potential.

The only way to do so is if we strive to do so on the basis of a positive and progressive direction, in a mutually respectful and collaborative spirit not  just at the top level.

After forty+ years of a dynamic cooperation, only this way can the partnership that we have forged so far provide the impetus for a more momentous China-Europe relation.

Thank you very much.

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com)


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