BERLIN (Reuters) - Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said on Sunday it made sense for China to invest its surplus in Europe to help the region overcome its debt crisis, but this would not involve political concessions.
European leaders agreed a plan last week to restore financial market confidence and end a two-year crisis started by Greece, with a contribution from Beijing if possible.
However, the appeal for Chinese help has come under fierce criticism for potentially weakening Europe’s negotiating position in political and economic disputes with Beijing.
“The fact that China and others might be involved in a comprehensive solution does not make me worry in the slightest, because China has an improbably large surplus so it makes sense for China to invest this in Europe,” Juncker told German public broadcaster ARD.
“This will not take place in the form of a tight political negotiation assuming that if China invests, we have to give China something back.”
Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister, said Europe did not need China to solve its crisis.
“Even if China and other investors did not participate (in the solution), the decisions that we have made are substantial enough to enable us to overcome the debt crisis on our own.”
Regarding Italy, Juncker said the government could not do whatever it wanted but “must act as we have agreed together” and implement further structural reforms and measures to consolidate the budget.
Asked whether the European Central Bank might stop its controversial bond-buying plan, Juncker said there was no direct reason any more for the purchases given that the euro zone’s rescue fund would soon be bolstered.
He noted however that the ECB was independent so he could not speculate what the central bank would do.
Reporting By Sarah Marsh; Editing by Karolina Tagaris