NANJING, April 23 (Xinhua) -- Political figures from China and European countries agreed on Tuesday that China's economic transformation toward higher quality and efficiency in growth has created more opportunities for European development in the country. At the ongoing fourth China-Europe High-Level Political Parties Forum, which started Monday in Suzhou City, in east China's Jiangsu Province, European political figures hailed China's rapid economic development and sound investment environment that it has created for European entrepreneurs.
"Although economic development in Germany is still very strong, some European states are facing challenges and difficulties, which have impacted the economy of Germany as well as China," Rudolf Scharping, former Defense Minister of Germany, told Xinhua.
Scharping added that Germany, as well as the European Union (EU) as a whole, is optimistic about economic cooperation prospects between China and the EU, predicting the economy will restart in the second or third quarter in Europe.
Premier Li Keqiang urged to yield "an updated version of China's economy" last month, saying the government should continue to develop the economy, maintain steady growth, curb inflation, control risks and push the economic transformation toward higher quality and efficiency in growth.
"The opportunities that China has brought to Europe are more than investment during China's economic transformation," said Qu Xing, head of the China Institute of International Studies. He added that China's increasing focus on green development and technological innovation will bring more opportunities for boosting mutual trade volume.
The EU's direct investment in China rose to 101.5 billion euros in 2011 from 19 billion euros in 2001, statistics from the Eurostat showed.
In addition, the forum also serves as an important platform to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and avoid misunderstanding and misgivings through dialogue and exchanges.
Yu Xiaoxuan, vice director of Western European Affairs Bureau of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, encouraged a more open, wide-ranging discussion among the parties.
Issues of common concern such as cooperation in new energy, mutual trade, environmental protection and experience sharing in state management capabilities were also discussed during the two-day forum.
Fausto Sorini, International Secretary for the Italian Communist Party, said that Europeans had spent a long time on treating air pollution during its modernization drive, adding that he has learned from China's annual political sessions that the Chinese government has realized the problem and started to resolve it.
He said that there would be huge potentials in such areas as urbanization, new energy sources, scientific and technological innovation and green development between China and Europe.
As the topic of air pollution aroused broad public concerns in China, Chen Zhimin, dean of the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Shanghai-based Fudan University, said that cooperation in environmental protection and green development between China and Europe will be significant and necessary.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, pointed out that the fate of China and Europe is closely linked with increasingly interdependency of all countries in the world.
Liu said that China's transformation of economic development by expanding consumption, imports from and investment in Europe will bring new business opportunities for relevant European industries, as well as boost economic growth and employment for Europeans.
The forum gathered 44 political parties from 27 European countries, a regional European political party, a political party group in the European Parliament and high-ranking officials from several European think tanks.
With the theme of "Promoting Win-win Cooperation for New Breakthroughs in China-Europe Relations," the forum was initiated by the CPC in 2010 and was designed to enhance mutual trust and cooperation between China and Europe.\