• France's news in English

France panda loan foiled by Greek crisis

AFP · 7 Nov 2011, 17:31

Published: 07 Nov 2011 17:31 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

China has had to delay the loan of two pandas to France because the Greek debt crisis dominated the G20 summit when they hoped to finalise details, French Ecology Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said on Monday.

"Things were very far advanced. Unfortunately because of the Greek crisis, the sovereign debt crisis, the emergency G20 summit, there was no time for the final discussion between President Hu Jintao and President (Nicolas) Sarkozy," she said.

The pandas are destined for the Beauval zoo in central France.

"I hope we can finalise things by letter in the coming weeks," she said, adding that "the couple have been identified."

"The reception centre is built. The Chinese have visited it and from what I heard, they said it was the most beautiful reception area they had seen outside of Chengdu. They therefore approved the project," the minister said, following a weekend visit to the Wolong panda reserve near the south-western city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.

"The panda is such a symbolic animal that such loan agreements require agreement from the highest level in China. That's why it still lacks the final approval," the minister explained.

During a state visit by President Hu to the United States in January, China announced it would extend its loan of two pandas to Washington zoo for a further five years.

Giant pandas are among the world's most endangered species, with only about 1,600 living in the wild and some 300 in captivity, mostly in China.

Story continues below…

European leaders called on China last week to invest in the region's European Financial Stability Facility to help it overcome the debt crisis, but Beijing has made no firm commitment to assist the troubled eurozone.

Hu told Sarkozy ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes that Europe was mostly responsible for resolving the debt crisis, Chinese state media said.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available