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European Investment Bank president visits China

Updated: May 27,2016 10:01 AM     Xinhua

The European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer embarked on a five-day visit to China on May 26, seeking to enhance cooperation on addressing climate change and strengthen ties with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The trip marks the first visit to China by a president of the Europe’s long-term lending institution since 2007, the EIB said in a statement, adding that the key focus of the visit is to strengthen partnership with China to better tackle climate change.

“Tackling climate change is a global challenge and since 2010 has been the main focus of the European Investment Bank’s engagement in China. China is a key partner for the EU’s bank and together we look forward to achieving our common goals in the years ahead,” Hoyer was quoted as saying ahead of the visit.

The EIB believed Hoyer’s visit would enable the bank and its Chinese partners to strengthen cooperation to support crucial investment in China, according to the statement. The EIB will work with the Chinese side to back climate-related investment, Hoyer was quoted as saying in the statement.

The EIB is the world’s largest lender for climate-related investment and a global leader in issuing green bonds. It provided 20.6 billion euros ($23.05 billion) for climate-related project worldwide in 2015, according to figures released by the EIB.

Last year, EIB support for climate finance outside Europe represented 30 percent of overall lending, and the EIB said it is committed to raise the share of climate financing outside the EU in developing countries to 35 percent by 2020.

ENHANCING TIES WITH AIIB

On the agenda is also enhancing relations with the AIIB, the China-initiated multilateral bank joined by more than 10 European countries. During the trip, the EIB is expected to ensure frequent, regular and strategic dialogues with the AIIB.

The two sides have worked “closely” during AIIB’s creation, Hoyer told Xinhua during an interview, adding he was impressed by China’s openness when consulting with the EIB on technical and financial experience.

The EIB will work with AIIB to streamline joint financing of projects, it said.

The EIB has its permanent representative in Beijing with an office operating for years.

Chinese Mission to the EU said China and Europe have accelerated their financial cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and the European Investment Plan since the start of this year.

The two sides have held technical working group meetings on investment cooperation with EIB experts involved.

China proposed to launch the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, seeking to link the country with Europe through central and western Asia via the Silk Road Economic Belt and connect China with southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe through the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

As infrastructure construction forged a vital part of the initiative, Beijing launched the establishment of the AIIB, a complement to the existing international financial system focusing on infrastructure investment. The bank started operation in January.

The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, launched the European Investment Plan in November 2014, aiming to boost Europe’s economy and help decrease the jobless rate. China became the first non-EU country to announce its contribution to the plan in September 2015.

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