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    EU Should Play Active Role in China's One Belt, One Road Project - French Ex-PM

    © AFP 2019 / MARK RALSTON
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    Sputnik has spoken with former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin in the wake of his participation in a forum in Beijing, which was dedicated to the significance and global impact of the 19th congress of the Communist Party of China.

    BEIJING (Sputnik) — The European Union should play a much more active role in the Chinese "One Belt One Road" initiative and implement specific projects within the framework of this policy, former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told Sputnik.

    "The EU states are already engaged in cooperation with China via the capital of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank [AIIB]. However, the European Union should increase the level of its participation in the 'One Belt One Road' initiative. It could be reached by means of the European Investment Bank or, for example, of French Fund of Innovations [Fonds pour les innovations]. These instruments should cooperate more actively, implementing specific projects within the framework of the 'One Belt One Road,'" the ex-official said.

    According to De Villepin, the Chinese companies could face certain difficulties, while investing in joint projects with EU member states, and this problem should be addressed by creating incentives for mutually beneficial economic cooperation between Brussels and Beijing.

    READ MORE: China's Ruling Party Prioritizes Massive Army Upgrade, Silk Road Project

    "The European Commission and the governments of several EU states are concerned over the investments of the Chinese companies in strategic spheres of economy. I am convinced that the European Union should not give up on other countries by introducing endless checks. The EU countries should build cooperation on a mutually beneficial basis, just like China does," the former official added.

    De Villepin specified that Brussels and Beijing would discuss a number of bilateral issues during the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to China expected to take place in January 2018.

    The French politician has participated in the opening ceremony of the two-day international expert forum held in Beijing and dedicated to the significance and global impact of the 19th congress of the Communist Party of China. According to a resolution adopted after the congress, "China will persist in developing friendships and partnerships with all countries, actively promote international cooperation within the framework of the "One Belt One Road initiative.'"

    China's "One Belt, One Road" strategy was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and is aimed at developing infrastructure and strengthening ties between the Eurasian countries, as well as with the regions in the vicinity of Eurasia, such as Africa and Oceania, focusing on the land-based Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road.

    Building Ties With Africa

    Speaking about ties with Africa, Villepin has stated, "The initiative proposed by [Chinese President] Xi Jinping to be implemented in Asia, should be implemented by us in Europe. The European Union should build closer partnership and cooperation with the Maghreb and Africa in the manner of Chinese 'Road and Belt.' We could develop infrastructure in the African states that would be very beneficial for our enterprises and would give impetus to the economies of these countries."

    According to De Villepin, who served as the French prime minister from 2005 to 2007, such ties would be favorable both for Africa and Europe.

    "Africa is often perceived in terms of refugees and undocumented migrants. I think that we should get rid of these prejudices. We could create projects, in which the companies and institutions from both the European Union and the African states will participate. If our neighbors do not have stability, then there will be no stability in Europe as well," the former head of the French government said.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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