Beijing solicits EU on joining AIIB

Updated: 2015-03-31 04:14

By Fu Jing(China Daily)

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Beijing has approached the European Union on joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but Brussels has hinted that only member states should get involved in the initiative, said a European Commission spokesperson.

"The European Commission and many EU member states have been approached by China about joining the AIIB," Annika Breidthardt, spokeswoman for Jobs, Growth and Investment, EMU and the European Semester told China Daily prior to the deadline of joining the new institution, which is March 31.

"Internal discussions are ongoing on how to coordinate positions among member states," she said.

With the United Kingdom taking the lead, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland and Italy have submitted applications to become founding members of AIIB.

Some analysts say Brussels will not join the AIIB because it is not a member of the World Bank and Asia Development Bank. But some experts say that the EU should not miss the chance to reform the international financial system.

Though Breidthardt didn't clarify whether Brussels will join the new institution, she said the EU is always stronger when it acts together.

"A common approach would put the EU in a stronger position to ensure that the AIIB is set up in line with international best practices for the benefit of its recipient countries," she said.

Breidthardt said it is essential that the new institution follow international best practices in terms of transparency and safeguards in important areas such as impact on the environment and health, fair labor conditions and procurement.

From the EU perspective, she said the increased investment in Asia's infrastructure is highly welcome and a business opportunity, also for EU companies.

"At the same time, developments that would undermine the existing multilateral development institutions and the best practices they bring to projects would not be in the interest of the EU," Breidthardt said.