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EU countries will help reinforce AIIB governance

2015-03-19 14:08 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

France, Germany and Italy joining the United Kingdom as prospective founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) should ensure high standards of governance, according to a European Parliament (EP) group.

"Leading European nations joining the AIIB as founding members signals the growing symbiotic relationship between Europe and Asia," said British MEP Kay Swinburne, economics spokesman for the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the EP's third biggest group.

"Being able to influence the way in which the AIIB operates will help shape infrastructure investments across Asia and ensure that the new bank encompasses high principles of governance and transparency in investment decisions," she added.

Swinburne went on to say that economic cooperation between Asia and Europe would "serve to strengthen growth and prosperity", and she welcomed the advent of another vehicle to work alongside existing bodies such as the World Bank. The ECR group was founded by the UK's ruling Conservative party.

With the UK last week opting to become a member of the AIIB, the decision by France, Germany and Italy to follow suit means the four largest economies in the European Union (EU) will be in at the start of the China-proposed 50-billion U.S. dollar initiative.

On Twitter, French government advisor Jean Pisani-Ferry said the decision by the largest European countries to join AIIB was "a watershed, in spite of US reservations". Pisani-Ferry currently serves as the French government Commissioner General for Policy Planning.

This week's move has been seen as major diplomatic disappointment for the United States which views the AIIB as a potential rival to the Washington-based World Bank.

At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the Washington was not opposed to the creation of the AIIB and recognized the need for greater infrastructure spending in Asia. Rather the concerns of the U.S. government were over the new institution's standards of governance and lending.

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