Europe is urging China to introduce democratic reforms to sustain economic growth. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso also encouraged the one-party communist state’s most senior political and trade officials to resume fence-mending dialogue with Taiwan. On EU-China relations, he said cooperation was key in resolving a growing number of disputes:
“We have problems because we have trade. If we had no trade there would be no problem about trade and today the European Union is the first partner of China in trade, and China exports a lot to the European Union.”
It is Barroso’s first visit to China as the Commission chief. He said sustainable growth of the world’s seventh-largest economy depended on political reforms. At the Academy of Social Sciences he linked human rights to the EU’s arms embargo and to economic wellbeing:
“We are of the opinion that the further improvement of good governance, human rights, rule of law and development of a strong civil society are key elements for the sustained success of China’s reform process including for future China’s growth.“He said feelings of economic threat must not lead to a return to protectionist tendencies. Beijing hopes to showcase progress hosting the Olympics in three years. Western concerns persist, however, about lack of free speech, prisoner treatment and arbitrary arrest.