French minister seeks to reassure Asia on euro

8th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe sought Thursday to reassure Asian countries that the eurozone would not collapse "despite the current crisis" as he began an Asia-Pacific tour in Hong Kong.

"Rest assured that in the face of this crisis, we are taking action," he said in a speech to members of the French community in the southern Chinese city.

"This is one of the main messages that I came to bring to our Asian partners.

"There is no question of allowing the (euro) zone to fall apart after taking so long to build it up. The lesson is not that we must call a halt to integration... but that we must move forward," he added.

"We are working with China, which is more than ever a major partner of France" with whom "we have a rich, confident dialogue," Juppe said.

Chinese leaders have repeatedly expressed confidence in the eurozone economies during the sovereign debt crisis, which has seen Greece, Portugal and Ireland call for bailouts and growing fears that others could follow.

China has also invested a growing portion of its world-leading foreign exchange reserves in euro-denominated assets.

In late August, during a short visit to China, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said his Chinese opposite Hu Jintao had "confidence in the euro", despite runaway budget deficits in countries including Greece, Italy and Spain.

Juppe said he was "confident about the future of Europe, France and the Franco-German partnership".

He is to travel to New Zealand on Thursday for the finale of the Pacific Islands summit, before visiting Australia and China.

France on Wednesday became the first eurozone country to endorse a bailout plan for troubled European economies that was finalised on July 21.

© 2011 AFP

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