Speaking at the Elysee Palace following talks with Xi, Macron called for a 'strong Europe-China partnership', adding that this must be based on 'strong multilateralism' and 'fair and balanced' trade. Macron called for a 'strong Europe-China partnership'
PARIS: Chinese President Xi Jinping and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for increased cooperation between the European Union and China, at a time of growing nervousness over Beijing´s massive investments on the continent.
Speaking at the Elysee Palace following talks with Xi, Macron called for a "strong Europe-China partnership", adding that this must be based on "strong multilateralism" and "fair and balanced" trade.
Xi´s, for his part, stressed that "a united and prosperous Europe fits in with our vision of a multipolar world".
"China will always back European integration and its development," he added in a statement to the press.
The statements followed the signing of a dozen of deals on nuclear power, cultural exchanges, clean energy, and a huge contract which will see China buy 290 Airbus A320s and 10 A350 airliners from Europe´s Airbus conglomerate.
The order, originally for 184 A320s for 13 Chinese airlines, was first announced during Macron´s state visit to China in January 2018.
All the deals, including one on French exports to China of frozen chicken, amount to a total of some $40 billion.
Monday´s talks come a day ahead of another meeting in Paris, this time between Macron, Xi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker to explore "points of convergence" between the two trading giants.
An EU-China summit will take place in Brussels next month.
Earlier on his trip, Xi visited Italy, which became the first G7 state to sign up to China´s vast "New Silk Road" infrastructure project that has sparked unease in the US and the European Union.
Macron also announced that France and China will cooperate on a number of investment projects in some of the countries providing stepping stones on this new Silk Road.
Monday morning, Macron and Xi had met at the Arc de Triomphe where they placed a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, notably to honour the 140,000 Chinese workers who contributed to the World War I efforts in France.
Talks at the Elysee Palace later touched on issues such as climate change, cooperation and business deals, officials in the French presidency said.
Monday evening Macron was to host a state dinner for Xi with some 200 guests, including the French actor Alain Delon, who is widely known in China.
In an interview with the Nice-Matin newspaper after hosting Xi at a dinner on the French Riviera, Macron had suggested that the joint talks "would allow us to establish a common definition for a new international order".