Premier Li Keqiang addresses a forum on the China-EU urbanization partnership in Brussels, Belgium, June 29, 2015. President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker also attended the forum.[Photo/Xinhua]
BRUSSELS — Premier Li Keqiang on June 29 welcomed European Union (EU) participation in China’s urbanization process, especially in smart city building and energy efficiency.
Premier Li made the call at a forum on the China-EU urbanization partnership in the Belgian capital. He arrived on June 28 for the 17th China-EU leaders’ meeting.
Addressing the forum, Premier Li said industrialization and urbanization are “twins” of modernization. China has made outstanding achievements in urbanization in the past three decades of rapid industrial progress.
Despite an urbanization rate of 54.77 percent by 2014, up from 17.92 percent in 1978, China still faces a number of problems, said the Premier. A new type of people-oriented urbanization process featuring harmonious and inclusive cities will be the solution, he said.
By 2020, 100 million Chinese migrant farm workers are to settle down in cities; 100 million farmers will be encouraged to move to nearby cities in central and western China; 100 million people will have better living conditions in cities through reconstruction of run-down areas and unsafe buildings, said the premier.
“This will stimulate consumption and investment, which will create momentum for China’s growth and modernization and provide new opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe.”
Premier Li stressed that China’s urbanization is the largest ever in the history of mankind and that China should learn from Europe’s rich experience in its hundreds of years of urbanization process. Twelve city partnerships have been forged within the framework of the China-EU urbanization partnership, he said.
He urged both sides to enhance cooperation in smart city design, to promote core technology development and the application of standards.
He also asked for cooperation in energy efficiency and environmental protection. Europe takes the lead in low-carbon technology, in nearly zero emissions of buildings and in sewage and garbage treatment, the Premier said.
“We welcome Europe to actively participate in China’s development of low-carbon cities, low-carbon industrial parks, in the renovation of buildings for energy efficiency and the treatment of waste water and refuse and the development of clean energy,” said the premier.
China is ready to work with Europe to develop third markets for energy-saving and environmental protection equipment, he added.
China has promised to peak its carbon dioxide emissions around 2030, and start to reduce the emissions afterwards.
China is striving to reach the peak at an even earlier date and increase the share of non-fossil fuels to around 20 percent in primary energy consumption by 2030, he said.
Premier Li also asked for the promotion of public services and cooperation in this regard. With the rapid development of urbanization in China, the country’s demand for medium- and high-end consumer products and for equalized public services is also increasing, he said.
Europe is good at education and health, recreation and fashion industries. China welcomes European enterprises to expand markets in China in those sectors. China, on the other hand, has comparative advantage in infrastructure construction, he said. China hopes that Europe can create favorable conditions for Chinese businesses in the upgrade and renovation of European cities, he said.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who joined Li at the forum, said Europe and China face common challenges and enjoy immense opportunities in urbanization. Europe admires China’s accomplishments in urbanization and is willing to be a major partner of China, he said.
Also on June 29, Premier Li attended a dialogue on China-EU innovation cooperation. Premier Li ended his stay in Brussels and flew to Paris later on June 29 for an official visit.