Former French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin addresses the plenary session of “Globalization & Free Trade: the Asian Perspectives” during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2017 in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province, March 25, 2017. (Xinhua/Zhao Yingquan)
PARIS, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) — Europe should join the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative as soon as possible, said Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French prime minister and president of the Foundation for Innovation and Future Technologies, a partner of BOAO Forum for Asia (BFA).
“Let’s grasp the opportunity and make more profits. I believe we’ll achieve win-win results through cooperating with our Asian partners,” Raffarin told Xinhua on Friday.
The Belt and Road Initiative aims to enhance reciprocity for countries along the route. “France as well as other European countries need rapid growth. We should get involved instead of just discussing it because we will lose a lot of time then,” he said.
“The initiative is very important for Europe” and French President Emmanuel Macron” has repeatedly said that a new driving force must be built within Eurasia, said Raffarin, adding that China is “offering a helping hand.”
In this context, Raffarin noted the necessity of French-Sino work “to reassure the worried countries, to create a climate of confidence by putting forward the fundamental principles that underpin this project: respect, reciprocity, balance. It is necessary to create confidence.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said several times that nowadays a country cannot succeed on its own, Raffarin said, adding that the initiative is conducive to combating tendencies of excessive nationalism and protectionism.
“We believe the world economy will be more open … Excessive nationalism and generalized protectionism lead to tensions,” he said.
When asked about the cultural aspect of the initiative, Raffarin said, “The relationship between France and China is primarily cultural. Economic and industrial relations are also very important, but what brings the two nations closer is the importance they attached to their great civilizations and their attachment to cultural values,” he said.
“A French will know more about his mother country as he tries to know more about China, and vice versa,” he added.
“I repeat, like all other French authorities, Chinese investments are welcome in Europe,” he added.
The BFA hosts high-level forums for leaders from government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to share their vision on the most pressing issues in this dynamic region and the world at large.