Siegfried Bracke, president of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, said he hoped cooperation between Belgium and China could be further enhanced in the future.
“The relations between Belgium and China today have never been so good, and I hope this cooperation will be even better in the future,” Bracke told Xinhua in a recent interview.
“It is essential to continue the dialogue and work together, trying to better understand each other,” Bracke added.
He said Belgium can work with China in all areas including economy, culture, education and tourism, stressing the importance of being creative in the process.
As for the economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, Bracke warned that every element blocking free trade must be removed.
“I do not think we should continue with this 20th century-style blocks, as the new world wants free economic exchanges and we must work in this direction,” Bracke said, citing the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China in 2013, which has an important impact on bilateral economic interests, and can work as a tool to support the economic cooperation between the two sides.
Meanwhile, Bracke underlined the necessity of strengthening education cooperation between the two countries.
“We must cooperate in education and start more student exchange programs...and it is necessary to work at the university level,” he said.
“I am from Ghent (one of the largest municipalities in the Flemish region of Belgium) and I was a member of the board of directors of the University of Ghent, where we opened in 2006 an initiative called ‘China Platform’ which still works very well,” he introduced.
According to Bracke, security is also a key area of cooperation between Belgium and China.
“Every country is concerned about terrorism, therefore I think that in some cases we have to share information because terrorists are not concerned by national borders, they simply pass through them,” Bracke said.
“In China, there have been terrorists attacks, just like in Europe. In this area there is a common interest and we should find an effective way of working together,” said Bracke.
Bracke noted that after the attacks in Brussels, all member states of the European Union understood that it is imperative to collaborate to fight terrorism.