China's support vital to Europe: Blair

Updated: 2012-04-28 09:04

By Li Lianxing (China Daily)

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Former British PM calls for far more China-UK ties

China's support is vital to Europe's recovery from the deteriorating financial crisis and the United Kingdom has the willingness and openness to embrace more Chinese partnerships in the future, said former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair told China Daily, in an exclusive interview on Friday, that having China buy more bonds and make more investments is crucial in terms of supporting the European economy.

China's support vital to Europe: Blair

Tony Blair, former British prime minister, told China Daily on Friday that there are more opportunities for collaboration between Chinese and European companies amid the worsening global financial crisis. Cong Fangjun / China Daily 

"The key thing is to understand that, without China, the world economy can't move forward," he said.

Regarding the collaboration between China and the UK, he said, far more ties need to be established and the respective strengths of China and the UK in technology and infrastructure should be merged in collaboration in emerging market countries.

"The UK now is very open to Chinese investments, and UK companies are very open to collaboration and partnerships with Chinese companies," he said.

According to the figure released by the UK Office for National Statistics on Wednesday, the UK's economy has fallen back into recession for the first time since 2009 as the economic output measured by gross domestic product fell by 0.2 percent in the first three months of the year.

But Blair said it's not the time to judge if this 0.2 percent drop is a real recession or just fluctuation for Britain.

Although the UK is not a part of the single currency zone, "if Europe is slowing down Britain gets affected".

"We are still dealing with the aftermath of the financial crisis and there is a need to calibrate very carefully the macroeconomic policy. So we are doing as much as we can to stimulate growth," he said.

More than $430 billion raised in the G20 meetings indicates that the financial markets have sufficient firepower to tackle any new problems arising from the prolonged European debt crisis, according to International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

In a highly interdependent world, according to Blair, China is expected to play a major role in the world economy and in the global financial crisis.

"We also need China's economy to carry on growing, and the process of stability in China is vital and important economically to Europe today," he said.

"The single currency is essentially inspired by a political idea, which is great European integration," he said. "But it is an economic monetary union, so the economic should come in line with politics and really that didn't happen in the way that it had to."

Blair said Europe is still very fragile and needs a combination of policies to produce growth.

According to him, fundamental structural reform is vital to revitalize the European economy, and stimulating its growth has a worldwide influence.

"Europe has to do this major structural reform, the European social model has to undergo fundamental change," he said, adding that pensions, welfare and public services, as well as the way the states operate, should all be part of the reform.

"I think these reforms were necessary, even before the crisis," he added.

But he also admits it would be quite difficult for European countries to change the system significantly to become competitive worldwide when growth rates are low and when countries are in recession.

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