After a five-day visit to China at the end of last month, European Investment Bank (EIB) President Werner Hoyer said the good collaboration with China will be further enhanced, focusing on concrete projects which can bring the European and Chinese economies forward.
In an interview with Xinhua in Brussels, Hoyer called China "an interesting partner" for the bank, saying the collaboration by far with China is "good".
"I have just returned from China where there is a big interest to cooperate with us," Hoyer told Xinhua, hinting that the trip aiming to strengthen partnership between the two sides was a success.
The trip marked the first visit to China by a president of the Europe's long-term lending institution since 2007.
"It is important to underline that the Juncker plan was not a fund in the classical sense," Hoyer told Xinhua, "so when we talk about cooperation with Beijing we are talking about co-financing."
The Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called "Juncker plan", aiming to bring investments back in line with historical trends was initiated by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in November 2014.
China became the first non-EU country to announce its contribution to the plan in September 2015.
"Therefore we need to develop projects which are interesting for Chinese investors and to develop platforms in which you can find us together," he continued, "this is what is happening now."
Asked about his cooperation with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Hoyer said the EIB has been working closely with the AIIB from its creation, sharing technical and financial experiences.
An important issue on the president's agenda was to establish and ensure frequent, regular and strategic dialogues with the AIIB, the China-initiated multilateral bank joined by more than 10 European countries.
"This dialogue is crucial for the success of this new bank and other new institutions," he said.
"We look forward to working closely with the AIIB in the years to come," he stressed.
Another key focus of the visit is to strengthen partnership with China to better tackle climate change.
During his trip to China, Hoyer also paid a two-day field trip to north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region where he saw at first-hand how the EIB was supporting reforestation to fight against desertification.
The flagship forestation scheme located in Xin Cheng District was the first project of its kind supported by the EIB in China.
"We are pleased to support the flagship Inner Mongolia Forestation Project as the leading international financial institution supporting this kind of projects in Asia. Tackling climate change is a global challenge and since 2010 has been the main focus of the European Investment Bank's engagement in China," he said.
The president was impressed by the project which covers more than thirty-one thousand hectares of forest. It will provide sustainable forestry products for years to come and benefit the local economy creating thousands of new employment opportunities.
"The trees planted in the area will also reduce carbon emissions significantly that benefit the entire planet," he added.
Experience gained will be helpful in promoting the clean development mechanism elsewhere in China, Hoyer said, noting the forestation project is supporting sustainable development, increased biodiversity and ensuring more sustainable management of forests.
According the EIB, the bank has provided more support than any other international financial institution for forestation investment in China over the last five years, amounting to more than 580 million euros.
After that, the EIB has supported a total of 14 forestry projects across China under three Framework loans dedicated to climate action in China, Hoyer introduced.
President Hoyer also signed a new agreement with the Ministry of Finance to strengthen joint support for climate related schemes in China.
"Our bank works closely with Chinese financial institutions who lend on climate related projects around the world," Hoyer said, adding the two partners plan to support crucial investment across a broad range of sectors.
Last year, EIB support for climate finance outside Europe represented 30 percent of overall lending, and the EIB said it is committed to raise the share of climate financing outside the EU in developing countries to 35 percent by 2020.
"My colleagues are working on a number of initiatives to streamline cooperation between the EIB and Chinese investors to work together in specific projects," he said.
Earlier this month, the EIB has agreed to provide its largest ever single loan for offshore wind investment, the 4 billion British pounds Beatrice windfarm off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea.
"We warmly welcome the involvement of the SDIC Power, part of the China's State Development and Investment Corporation Group, who have taken an equity stake in the Beatrice project," the president said.
EIB president Werner Hoyer and Vice-President responsible for Asia Jonathan Taylor made an official visit to China from May 26 to 31 intended to strengthen strategic financial cooperation between EIB and China.
The EIB is the world's leading international public bank and owned directly by the 28 European Union member states.