France to join Beijing-backed infrastructure bank
Germany and Italy too keen on becoming the founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The 50 billion euro bank is seen as a potential rival to the World Bank, an institution backed by the US.
Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have declined to become founding members – but within a week, Europe's four biggest economies have signalled plans to join.
Britain had announced last week that it wanted to join the bank, in a move to bolster relations with China.
According to experts, the three European countries’ main interest would be in the financing of infrastructure projects in Africa, central Asia and South Asia.
The other consideration behind could be the political objective of following multipolar diplomacy.
When asked about the European interest in the bank, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said: "We welcome countries to join the AIIB as prospective founding members. The AIIB is an open and inclusive multilateral investment institution."
The bank would be headquartered in Beijing. A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed between China and 20 other countries last October.
On Tuesday, speaking in Berlin, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said his country along with Italy and France "want to bring our long experience... to help the bank build a solid reputation".
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