Monday

24th Sep 2018

Focus

EU keen for Chinese investment in Juncker fund

  • Chinese New Year's celebrations in Prague. (Photo: EUobserver)

Representatives from several European regions on Thursday (4 June) tried to convince the four largest Chinese banks to invest in projects under the EU’s new investment programme.

At a workshop in Brussels, regions and cities including Berlin, Catalonia, Ile-de-France, and Lodzkie, held presentations of ideas for ICT projects.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

Their pitches were heard by officials from the European departments of ICBC, China Construction Bank, Agricultural Bank of China, and Bank of China, four of the seven largest banks in the world. A representative of HSBC was also present.

ICBC is the world’s largest bank with $3.3 trillion in assets, followed by the China Construction Bank.

The investment programme, often called the Juncker fund after the EU commission president, is meant to unlock investments from the private sector by guaranteeing part of the investment with money from the EU budget and the European Investment Bank.

The fund is hoped to reach a total of €315 billion to be spent on infrastructural projects that will kickstart the EU’s economy.

The four Chinese banks, plus HSBC, “are ready to assess with great interest the opportunity to invest in Europe”, said Luigi Gambardella, head of the international association ChinaEU, which aims to promote business cooperation between China and Europe.

One Chinese banker, who spoke to this website on the condition of anonymity, noted that the Chinese financial market is limited in opportunities.

“The European market is a very important strategic market for us”, the banker said.

“I haven’t talked with the EIB yet, but I believe Chinese banks would like to participate in this plan, to provide some finance.”

Fear of 'Chinese money'

One audience member from Austria noted that promoters of regional projects may be wary of Chinese-financed funds.

“For regions it’s quite sensitive to speak about Chinese money coming into the region. We don’t want to need money which does not come from Europe, or not from Austria, or not from the region”, she noted.

But that fear is unwarranted, noted Alessandro Carano, senior advisor on jobs to the commission.

“China is already a big investor in EIB bonds. China [has] already [been] indirectly financing the European economy for many years”, said Carano, adding that some Europeans might not be aware of it.

“But we have no problem with this. On the contrary, we welcome it”, said Carano.

Gambardella told this website that not many countries are as interested in investing in Europe as China is.

“There are not so many in the world. Maybe there is Qatar, Emirates. Quite few.”

A survey published in May by EY found that Europe has become the “most attractive investment destination”, overtaking the number one position from China.

But those surveyed do not necessarily put their money where their mouths are. The study showed that while 59 percent of investors have confidence in Europe’s prospects for the next three years, only 32 percent of executives plan to invest, or invest more than they already do, in Europe over the next year.

“Europe should do this with all the different regions in the world”, Gambardella said, referring to the workshop.

Political approval

Meanwhile Thursday afternoon, elsewhere in Brussels, negotiators from the EU institutions agreed on the last technical details of a political deal that was necessary to implement the Juncker fund.

The compromise will be put to the vote in the EUropean Parliament on 24 June, with national governments expected to rubber-stamp it in the following days, so that the fund will be operational on 1 July.

Analysis

Why Chinese investment is soaring in Europe

Today, it is the EU – not the US – that is Beijing’s most important technology partner. As the euro weakens, Chinese investments in Europe will increase.

Juncker fund gets political go-ahead

The EU plan for a €315bn fund to create jobs took final shape on Thursday, as negotiators agreed how it should operate and how to choose investment projects.

Hungary signs up to Silk Road project

Hungary has become the first EU country to join China's flagship initiative, which aims to revitalise a historic trade route between Europe and the Far East.

EU and China leaders to talk trade and climate

EU and Chinese leaders will meet in Brussels on Monday, with the EU hoping for Chinese investment in its new growth fund as well as support for a global climate deal.

News in Brief

  1. ECB's Draghi set to clarify role in secretive G30 group
  2. Half of EU states at risk of missing recycling target
  3. Commission refers Poland to EU top court over rule of law
  4. Open Society Foundation takes Hungary to court
  5. EU court asked to rule on halting Brexit
  6. EU threatens Switzerland on stock trading
  7. Italy's new basic wage restricted to Italians
  8. UK tycoon offers to create pro-Brexit party

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  2. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  5. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  6. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  7. IPHRCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  8. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  9. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  10. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  11. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow

Latest News

  1. Missing signature gaffe for Azerbaijan gas pipeline
  2. Every major city in Europe is getting warmer
  3. No chance of meeting EU renewable goals if infrastructure neglected
  4. Brexit and MEPs expenses in the spotlight This WEEK
  5. Wake-up call on European Day Against Islamophobia
  6. Sound of discord at 'Sound of Music' Salzburg summit
  7. Salzburg summit presses for bigger Frontex mandate
  8. UK's post-Brexit plan 'will not work', EU says

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  5. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  6. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  9. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  11. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us