The European Commission has said that ensuring genuine autonomy to Tibet by encouraging China and the Dalai Lama to strengthen their ongoing contact through mutually acceptable solution would be one of their political priorities.

In its policy paper on China, adopted on September 10, 2003, the European Commission suggested the following action on Tibet as a political priority for European Union. “Encourage China and the Dalai Lama to further strengthen ongoing direct contacts with a view to finding a mutually acceptable solution to the question of Tibet in the context of ensuring a genuine autonomy for this region.”

“The European Commission’s commitment to encourage negotiations for genuine autonomy for Tibet is a step in the right direction,” said Tsering Jampa, Executive Director of International Campaign for Tibet-Europe. “We expect the European Union to follow up on this commitment through concrete action to help the people of Tibet,” Jampa added.

The next EU-China summit will be held in Beijing on October 30, 2003 during which the EU is expected to take up a number of its concerns, including on the need for co-operation with the UN Human Rights Mechanisms, freedom of expression, association and religion and minorities rights.

“This paper takes stock of the many changes in Europe China and the rest of the world since our last policy paper on China in 2001,” said European Commission’s External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten. “We have a major political and economic interest in China’s successful transition to a stable, prosperous and open country which fully embraces democracy, free market principles and the rule of law, and we will do our utmost to support this transition process,” Patten added.

The policy paper contains a number of concrete proposals in the field of global governance as well as to increase the efficiency of EU-China Human Rights Dialogue.

This policy paper, which is being transmitted to the European Council and the European Parliament, updates the Commission’s communications on EU-China relations of 1998 and 2001.