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EU officials praise China's Belt and Road Initiative

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-09-22 09:23

BRUSSELS - China's Belt and Road Initiative, if linking up with trans-European networks, will offer new opportunities for both European and Chinese companies, senior European Union (EU) officials told Xinhua on Wednesday at a reception to mark China's 68th National Day, which falls on Oct 1.

"Belt and Road is of course a very important initiative, and we see how it has developed over the last couple of years. It has a much wider approach now in terms of the modes of transport it covers, but also in terms of the countries it covers," said Gunnar Wiegand, managing director of Asia and the Pacific at European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's diplomatic service.

The Belt and Road Initiative was proposed by China in 2013 and aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

Wiegand said European countries had been doing trade this way for centuries.

"But there are many new investment possibilities for European companies not only in China, but also in Asia," he said, adding that the initiative also provided opportunities for Chinese investors.

To this end, Wiegand said the EU and China needed to make sure the initiative was linking up with the Trans-European networks, which have been established over the years.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the European Parliament Dimitrios Papadimoulis praised the Belt and Road initiative, saying it was positive for both sides.

The Greek legislator added that his homeland could be "the gate of Chinese economy to Europe."

When it comes to the EU's concern over the initiative, Papadopoulos said, "Of course there are problems, there are issues and there are distances between us, but the only solution to those problems is dialogue and the investment is in our mutual interests."

"China and the European Union are, and will be, two pillars of stability in the globe," he said.

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