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European Law Monitor newsEuropean Commission strengthens cooperation with China on employment and social affairs

Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, will today arrive in China for a three-day visit to strengthen cooperation on employment and social affairs issues. He will sign an EU-China agreement to promote policy dialogue on issues of common interest and on long-term challenges in employment and social policy, such as demographic ageing.

"The EU and China face a number of very similar challenges in the fields of employment and social policy, from creating safe workplaces to adapting our societies to an ageing population," said Commissioner Å pidla. "I'm very pleased to take our existing dialogue a step further with this new agreement covering crucial issues affecting millions of people in China and in Europe. They will help improve our understanding of these common challenges and to find the best approaches to tackling them."

The agreement • or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) • sets up a structured dialogue with China's top think tank • the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences • on future policy challenges in areas such as employment, social security, demography, social dialogue and labour relations. It will launch a policy discussion which is "prospective" in nature, with a focus on long-term trends and challenges.

On 14 January, Commissioner Å pidla will open a joint seminar in Shanghai to discuss how to respond to the structural changes linked to ageing societies in both the EU and China, in terms of employment, economic and social policies. Participants will include Chinese and EU authorities, officials from the EU Member States, Chinese and European experts in the domain, as well as practitioners and experts from trade unions and employers' organisations.

On the occasion of his visit, Commissioner Å pidla will also hold a series of bilateral meetings with the Chinese Government, the Business Community and the Shanghai authorities.

The EU-China Summit in November 2007 recognised that our cooperation on employment and social affairs is an important element of the dialogue on sustainable development and decent work. The EU signed a first MoU on social and employment issues with the Chinese Ministry of Labour and Social Security in 2005.
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