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European Union  |  March 29, 2024 11:21:00, updated

EU-China conclude the 6th High-Level People-to-People Dialogue on education, culture, youth and sport

EU-China conclude 6th High-Level People-to-People Dialogue

Today, the 6th EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue (HLPPD) on education, culture, youth and sport took place in Beijing, China. This was the first in-person meeting since 2017. The meeting was held as a follow-up of the EU-China Summit that took place in Beijing on 7 December 2023, where the EU and Chinese leaders agreed that the HLPPD would take place in 2024.

At this HLPPD, the European Commission was represented by Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Iliana Ivanova, who co-chaired the Dialogue with State Councillor of the People's Republic of China and President of the All-China Women's Federation, Shen Yiqin.

The theme of this 6th edition of the HLPPD was “working together for a greener and more sustainable future”, and the key role of education in underpinning the transition towards a greener society was one of the main topics of discussion. The need for a more balanced student mobility, which experienced a major set-back during the COVID-19 period was highlighted. The Commissioner also underlined the key importance of providing an open, welcoming and inclusive academic environment for European students.

The EU side reiterated concerns, which continue to negatively impact open scholarly exchange, inclusion and participation of civil society institutions and think tanks. In this context, the EU side re-emphasised the central importance of academic freedom and expressed the hope that China would take steps to reverse current trends.

The EU and China further discussed direct as well as indirect adverse impacts of climate change on all forms of cultural heritage, including the need to rethink the way the cultural heritage of tomorrow is built today. The EU side recalled the importance of ensuring respect and preservation of cultural heritage in all its diversity, including that of persons belonging to minorities. Culture is a central topic of the People-to-People Dialogue, underlining the importance of public and cultural diplomacy between the EU and China. In this respect, the EU side reaffirmed the importance of providing an open enabling environment for European cultural diplomacy in China, devoid of censorship or impediments for exchanges among civil society.

The Dialogue provided an opportunity for exchanges on gender equality in the areas covered by the HLPPD. It addressed ways to empower younger generations in playing an active role in promoting a social shift in tackling climate change and how to make sure that their voices are heard. With regard to sport, both sides concur on the importance that major sports events are organised in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. This reflects the growing recognition within the EU of the sport sector as part of the solution to meeting the objectives of the European Green Deal.

As a follow-up to the dialogue, a seminar will be jointly organised, bringing together stakeholders from the EU and China, to deepen discussions about how women's participation can be increased in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) subjects.


The High-Level People-to-People Dialogue (HLPPD) was launched in 2012 and is one of the High-Level dialogues held between the EU and China, along with the High-Level Strategic Dialogue, the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue, the High-Level Environment and Climate Dialogue and the High-Level Digital Dialogue. The HLPPD is the forum where the EU and China discuss mobility, education, gender equality, youth, sport and culture.

These areas remain important for the EU's engagement with China, in line with the EU's multifaceted approach.

In the sixth meeting of the dialogue, both sides reviewed the results of the HLPPD since the fifth meeting, highlighting the need to continue improving people-to-people level engagement. Counterparts agreed to continue and enhance work in order to progress further towards a level playing field on which the exchange of ideas and mobility can take place.


The 6th EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue is a manifestation of our desire to continue to engage with each other despite the challenging geopolitical context. I am particularly pleased that during this Dialogue, we discussed how we can jointly work to ensure a better outlook for our younger generations: we agreed that education, youth, culture and sport play a key role in ensuring a greener and more sustainable future.
Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth 2024-03-28

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