MADRID: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez discussed opportunities for China to co-invest in projects financed by European Union recovery funds with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a telephone conversation on Wednesday.
Regulators in Brussels and Washington have been wary of China's increased clout in Europe and frown upon Chinese investment in critical infrastructure.
But the Spanish government said in a statement Sanchez had told Xi he was confident that common ground could be found to ratify a long-awaited investment agreement between Beijing and Brussels, and suggested Spain could play a constructive role in strengthening Sino-EU relations.
With Spain due to receive some 140 billion euros (US$171 billion) in pandemic recovery funds in the coming years, Sanchez pointed to investment opportunities in the "green transition, electric mobility, circular economy and digitalisation".
Ahead of the first disbursement of EU cash, Spain has also been courting Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds to co-invest on major projects, hoping their participation will amplify the impact of the recovery funds.
Last year, the government passed a decree giving it a veto on foreign acquisitions of stakes bigger than 10per cent in Spanish companies deemed strategic, a move which it said was compatible with the search for outside investors.
(US$1 = 0.8182 euros)
(Reporting by Belén Carreño; Writing by Nathan Allen, editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan)