The European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China (China) are committed to maintaining and developing strong and fruitful relations in the area of transport. In an effort to improve transport connectivity, the European Commission (DG MOVE) and the National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) established a Connectivity Platform in 2015.
The main objective of the Platform – as agreed by both sides – is to explore opportunities for further cooperation in the area of transport with a view to enhance synergies between the EU’s approach to connectivity, including the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The platform is also used to work towards greater transparency, reciprocity in market access and a level playing field for businesses in the area of transport infrastructure development.
More specifically, this cooperation includes actions to:
- share information, promote seamless traffic flows and transport facilitation, and develop synergies between their relevant initiatives and projects;
- identify co-operation opportunities between their respective policies, including the Trans-European Transport Networks and The Belt and Road Initiative;
- explore business and investment opportunities open to both China and the European side, and;
- create a favourable environment for sustainable and inter-operable cross-border infrastructure networks in countries and regions between the EU and China.
Under the EU-China Connectivity Platform, annual Chairs’ meetings and Expert Group meetings are held to concretise these objectives. At the 4th Chairs’ meeting which took place on 8 April 2019 in Brussels, both sides agreed on the Terms of Reference of the Joint Study on sustainable railway-based transport corridors between Europe and China – a commitment that was also endorsed by the Leaders of the EU-China Summit on 9 April 2019 (paragraph 17 of the Joint Statement). The study looks at “sustainability” in its broadest sense (environmental, financial, fiscal and social), and follows the principles of transparency, openness and a level playing field. Throughout the implementation of the study, wide stakeholder consultations will be conducted with all countries concerned, EU Member States, industry representatives, civil society and relevant international organisations.
At regular Expert Group meetings, planned transport infrastructure projects are presented by both sides for possible cooperation. It is therefore important to bring together all key stakeholders at these meetings. Accordingly, in addition to relevant European Commission and Chinese counterparts, EU Member States, partner countries covered by the indicative extension of the TEN-T network as well as European and Chinese business representatives and international financial institutions are invited and actively participate.