EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti believes that his bank is likely to approve Chinese membership by Christmas, according to the Xinhua news agency, in a week that saw China play host to the heads of 16 countries from Central and Eastern Europe for the fourth China-CEEC (Central and Eastern European countries) summit.
China made a formal request to become a member of the EBRD last month in a move that would open new channels for Chinese funding of infrastructure and other investments along its One Belt One Road (OBOR) project, linking China to markets in Europe and the rest of the world. It would also considerably increase Chinese contractors’ chances of winning major infrastructure projects across the region after Premier Li Keqiang said that the country was willing to provide more flexible funding conditions to Central and East European countries as long as they used Chinese equipment and products.
An EBRD official said “a senior Chinese authority” — understood to be Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People’s Bank of China — had written to Sir Suma Chakrabarti, EBRD president, in August, proposing that China become a shareholder in the bank. Another person familiar with the matter said China would not become a country of operations for the EBRD and its shareholding would be a symbolic amount, “just to let them say they are a shareholder”. FT
In talks with Poland’s President Andrzej Duda yesterday, Xi called on the two countries to explore using Poland as a hub for logistical cooperation with central and eastern Europe, and for cooperation over OBOR. “We would like to see Poland push the [OBOR] initiative to connect with the EU development strategy,” Xi said as he joined his guests on a high-speed bullet train from Suzhou to Shanghai.
A consortium led by China Railway Group (CRG) has been awarded a $1.57 bn contract to build the Hungarian section of a railway linking Budapest with Serbia’s Belgrade, in China’s first high-speed rail win in the European Union. Three firms – CRG’s China Railway International Group, a subsidiary of national operator China Railway Corporation and the Hungarian State Railways – will form a consortium to construct the 160 kilometre route, while Hungary’s economic ministry confirmed that it would be issuing government bonds denominated in yuan with the Bank of China in the hope of attracting more Asian investors. The Economic Times