ROME, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Europe and Asia should strengthen ties to enhance cooperation and communication and defend prosperity and growth prospects from protectionism, officials said at Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Rome Conference here on Wednesday.
The conference, themed "Asia-Europe Leaders' Cooperation Dialogue," was organized by the BFA and Italian think tank the European House - Ambrosetti, on Tuesday and Wednesday, and gathered about 300 experts, policymakers and business representatives from 15 countries in Europe as well as Asia Pacific.
BFA Vice Chairman Zhou Xiaochuan called for global joint efforts to uphold multilateralism and push forward the reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the face of rising deglobalization sentiments marked by populism and protectionism.
"At the current stage, reforming the WTO and preserving the multilateral trading system are top priorities," Zhou said.
The former governor of China's central bank said the world need to build a strong global financial security network and carry out the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to boost regional connectivity and globalization.
Noting that Asia and Europe share similar grounds over such issues as reshaping globalization and reforming the world economic order, Zhou urged Asian and European countries to strengthen ties to make contributions to sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth.
China is "willing to strengthen cooperation with European and Asian countries" in this endeavor, he added.
Romano Prodi, former Italian prime minister and president of the European Commission, highlighted the importance of economic globalization to global growth.
The Belt and Road Initiative is in line with the common goal of development, he said, saying that Europe should conduct closer practical cooperation with China and Asia.