European office of ASEM innovation cooperation center inaugurated in Athens
by Maria Spiliopoulou
ATHENS, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — The first European coordination office of the Asia-Europe Meeting(ASEM) Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation Center (CCSTI) was inaugurated during an Athens forum on Monday as part of international efforts to widen communication in these fields among its member states.
During the 2nd ASEM Seminar on Cooperation in Science, Technology and Innovation for Sustainable Development held in the Greek capital, Greek, Chinese and other ASEM countries’ officials and experts explored the potential of cooperation between Europe and Asia, underlining the significance of technological and scientific advance in the global economic and social development.
The launch of the ASEM-CCSTI European coordination office in Athens marks the start of a new period of closer ties between the two sides in science and technology research, keynote speakers stressed.
The event was organized by the PRAXI Network of the Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) which will be running the new office, in cooperation with the Beijing Municipal Commission for Science and Technology (BMCST).
Athens was chosen to host the premises of the first coordination contact point in Europe, because Greece and China are leading the bid to deepen collaboration between Asia and Europe in recent years in several sectors, Professor Costas Fotakis, Greece’s Deputy Minister for Research and Innovation, explained to Xinhua at the sidelines of the event.
More contact points will be established in various regions in the future.
“The choice is, I would say, the result of (Greek) Prime Minister’s (Alexis Tsipras) visit to China last July where we held talks with Chinese officials,” he said.
“And certainly I would like to stress that this cooperation does not concern only bilateral ties with China — we will discuss this now how we can further promote them — but we are talking about (cooperation) with all southeastern Asian countries, such as Singapore and Vietnam and others. This effort is opening very positive prospects so that our country becomes a gate regarding science and technology for these countries to Europe,” the Greek official stressed.
For his part, addressing the seminar, Xu Jianpei, Secretary General of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, noted that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang advocated establishing an ASEM Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Center during the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting in 2014 and the idea was warmly welcomed by all member countries.
“It is fair to say that the ASEM Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Center was established at the right time as a bridge between Asia and Europe in the field of Science and Technology Innovation,” Xu said during the event which was attended by Chinese ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli and other dignitaries and scientists.
“It is hoped that this will strengthen win-win technical cooperation among Eurasian universities, institutes and businesses, realizing extensive, orderly transfer and commercialization of innovation results among member countries so as to drive socioeconomic sustainable development of all countries,” Xu stressed.
Delivering speeches during the seminar PRAXI’s coordinator Panagiotis Karniouras welcomed the launch of the office as an important step in boosting cooperation between Europe and Asia to deal with common challenges.
Epaminondas Christofilopoulos, head of International Cooperation in PRAXI, added that stronger research-industry collaboration on global level is one of the keys of success for all parts.
The ASEM was created in 1996 as a forum for dialogue and cooperation between Europe and Asia. It consists of the European Union and its 28 member states, Norway and Switzerland, and 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as China, Russia, Japan, Australia, etc.