To shake hands, you need to be empty-handed

Europe’s Three Big Days get off to a damp start

Wen Jaibao last night more or less blew a raspberry at Angela Merkel’s personal plea for help with the eurozone debt crisis, but this morning the State’s chief bollocks transmitter The People’s Daily went out of its way to say that China doesn’t have ‘designs on’ Europe of an asset or infrastructural nature. In fact, the paper said this so many times, one has to smell a rat. Here’s an extract:

‘China has no intention of “buying up” Europe and any help Beijing offers will be for purely economic reasons.  China’s interests lie in selflessly helping Europe. China has no appetite or ability to ‘buy up Europe’ or ‘control Europe’ as some European commentators have said. China will not to link helping Europe in the debt crisis with issues such as the EU recognising China as a market economy or the EU’s arms embargo on China.’

Hmm. Of course – when given the chance – China didn’t buy Greek bonds; instead, it bought Paraeus Harbour. Watch what the buggers do, and ignore what they say.

But even what they say this time seems to be coming out differently depending on who you talk to.

Lou Jiwei, the head of China’s $410 billion sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corp (CIC), said that European government bonds were not ideal for long-term investors such as the fund. Instead, he said, the CIC would look at infrastructure and real industrial projects that could help a recovery. Sounds a bit like buying up Europe to me, but what do I know? Mr Lou is on the fringes of the politburo, but he also works in the real world.

I admire the Chinese culture, and I always have: the Chinese are thrifty, bright, hardworking and justly proud of what they’ve achieved. But this is Beijing we’re talking to here: a bunch of ageing Communists who regard even the weather as a relative Truth. The Useful Idiots will believe the Chinese People’s Daily. Not many others will.

But as luck would have it, two Useless Idiots will be in Beijing for a ‘summit’ tomorrow. This ‘key meeting’ will bring together Premier Wen and President Hu Jintao with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. I have little doubt that the meeting will be spun by Brussels into a roaring success and a guarantee of funding, but it will turn out to be completely airy tosh – again.

You can see the timing on this one coming. The next day, the EU FinMinCom* decides whether it will graciously bestow its approval of a Greek austerity package that is rapidly destroying the country’s economy, as well as saving on street lighting by using burning buildings as a dual warmth/light alternative energy form.

It’ll be interesting to see where we are by Wednesday evening, but until then (unless something genuinely newsworthy happens) I’m going to ignore the Greek necrophilia fest. It’s a waste of time and money, and a fundamentally unfair attempt by scared eurotwerps to bully a sovereign State into starving its citizens. The Greeks are not of the driven snow either, but the folks doing this to them are mad, cynical and ruthless – depending on what particular things they’re dealing with on any given day.

*Fin Min Com is the EU finance ministers’ forum, not an obscure Chinese official.