The EESC has built and maintained relations with the Chinese Economic and Social Council (CESC) since the latter's establishment in 2001. In the Joint Declaration by the Presidents, which was approved in July 2002 in Beijing, it was agreed that both sides would engage in consultation, dialogue and research on economic and social issues of common interest, as well as issues related to human rights and the rule of law, so as to promote economic development and social progress in China and in the European Union alike.
The Round Table
The 9th EU-China Summit, held in Helsinki on 9 September 2006, acknowledged that the exchanges and cooperation between the EESC and the CESC formed an integral part of the EU-China relationship and encouraged the establishment of a regular Round Table to help enrich and develop the EU-China strategic partnership. In June 2007, a first meeting of the Round Table was held in Beijing. It has functioned as a platform for dialogue between the EU and China ever since.
The Round Table comprises members from each side and is co-chaired by the Presidents of the EESC and the Chinese ESC. It meets regularly, at least once a year, alternately in China and in the EU. It works on the basis of written contributions on jointly selected topics, presented for discussion by rapporteurs during the Round Table meetings. A joint declaration summarising the outcomes of the talks is adopted at the close of each Round Table meeting and subsequently submitted to the political authorities in the EU and in China.
The China contact group
A contact group, acting as a steering committee for the Round Table, meets regularly to prepare the Round Table session and maintains contacts with other EU institutions.