What's new

China’s relationships with Greece and Italy are deepening – EU is reaping exactly what it sowed

beijingwalker

ELITE MEMBER
Nov 4, 2011
34,440
1
64,021
Country
China
Location
China
China’s relationships with Greece and Italy are deepening – EU is reaping exactly what it sowed
November 18, 2019 5.53am EST

Xi Jingping with Greek president Prokopis Pavlopoulos in Athens. EPA


The eurozone has emerged from its debt crisis of 2010-18 intact, but at a very high cost to the periphery. Greece’s exit from its third bailout in August 2018, the swan song of the crisis, is perceived as successful only from a purely accounting perspective. Of the approximately €290 billion (£248 billion) lent to the country overall by the IMF, European Commission and European Central Bank, less than 12% was spent on investment.

The remainder has been used to service Greece’s spiralling national debt, and even then, repayments are only covered up to 2022. Thanks to the government spending cuts implemented from 2010-18 in return for these loans, unemployment is still running at 17%.

What timing for the Chinese president, Xi Jingping, to make his first official visit to Athens, intensifying a friendship between the two countries that has been developing for more than a decade. Earlier this year, Greece already became a member of China’s 17+1 initiative, which aims to deepen cooperation between Beijing and 17 states in central and eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The initiative is part of China’s One Belt One Road project to develop connectivity and trade in Eurasia and beyond, to which the Greeks committed as far back as 2009 – the first developed economy and NATO member to do so. Greece has also unnerved its Western allies in the past couple of years by obstructing EU plans to condemn China over issues like human rights and the law of the sea.

To mark Xi Jinping’s visit to Athens, 16 new bilateral agreements were announced. They build on previous Chinese investments into Greek shipping, while also covering sectors as diverse as education and agriculture. This comes just two months after the Chinese president made a similar trip to Italy. That, too, saw the announcement of trade deals covering various sectors worth multiple billions of euros. The Italians also became the first major Western power to endorse One Belt One Road.

The Chinese alternative
The timing of these Italian and Greek announcements is not a coincidence. Italy, like Greece, is saddled with high debts and is bearing the brunt of the EU external migration crisis. Both countries had been calling on the EU for pan-European investment programmes for the past three years, but were rejected outright by core eurozone members like Germany, the Netherlands and Finland.

Greece and Italy are attempting the fine balancing act of dealing with China without undermining the EU’s overarching external trade policy, but the EU and Americans are still uneasy. The EU in particular is worried about China promoting its alternative model of governance without democracy.

In the case of the Greek announcement, one major concern is China’s involvement in the port of Piraeus via its state-owned China Ocean Shipping Corporation (COSCO). Though COSCO has taken stakes in at least 15 European ports in recent years, including the likes of Rotterdam, Antwerp and Marseilles, the port of Piraeus is a particularly eye-catching commitment.


Visiting Piraeus with Greek premier Kyriakos Mitsotakis. EPA

The Chinese became the port’s majority owner in 2016, and had already committed €800m towards upgrading its facilities. Now there will be a further €600m investment. This aims to turn Piraeus into the biggest commercial port in Europe, while raising COSCO’s stake from 51% to 67% by 2022. The Chinese see Piraeus as a gateway to EU markets, with a strategic role in Asia-European-African trade routes thanks to its close proximity to the Suez Canal.

Greece’s participation in China’s 17+1 initiative is also viewed by the West as particularly significant. Greece is the biggest of the five eurozone members to have joined – the others are Slovenia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. Membership is part of Greece’s broader plan to realise international trade agreements via new trade routes. The move seems to have rejuvenated an initiative which has been limited to upgrading infrastructure and had stalled since 2016.

While Greece initially joined 17+1 under its hard-left Syriza government, the fact that the new conservative government is prepared to upgrade strategic relations with China demonstrates that the relationship can survive political change in Athens. Xi Jinping’s visit came just a week after prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Shanghai, after China made Greece the official guest country of the 2019 China International Import Expo.

The way ahead
In truth, it looks somewhat late for the EU to be concerned about these moves by Greece and Italy. They are the direct result of the strict bailouts and the eurozone’s refusal to invest seriously in either country. Other eurozone reforms that might help these countries – a eurozone fiscal union with an unemployment insurance programme; a eurozone banking union with a pan-European deposits guarantee scheme; a single European immigration policy – are also long overdue.
To make matters worse, eurozone growth rates have slowed considerably – led by Germany, the supposed powerhouse. France seems to be the only member yet to feel the impact of US tariffs, the Brexit process and the slowdown in the Chinese economy. The gloom is being exacerbated by the likes of the new fragmented European parliament and fragile Italian banks.

This all means that there is less room for manoeuvre than there might have been two or three years ago. So while the West may wish that its Mediterranean allies were not looking eastwards, it is going to be difficult to put this particular genie back inside its bottle. The growing sense in Rome and Athens that they have been abandoned by their allies will be difficult to reverse.

http://theconversation.com/chinas-r...ng-eu-is-reaping-exactly-what-it-sowed-127087
 

Georg

FULL MEMBER
Apr 2, 2017
1,235
3
1,416
Country
Germany
Location
Spain
how naive are you the little money China spend does not cover a friction of the Depts of Greece ...

This port project is a dead horse right from start....

The fundamental changes Greece has to do is its work ethic... u cant retire with 50 and taking depts and bailouts from nations were people has to work till the age of 67... chinese money does only one thing... Greece is doing what they did the last decads... being lazzy and lifing on growing depts... till the financial system collaps again.
The hard bailouts teach Greece to get more competetive on their own.
 

Beast

ELITE MEMBER
Feb 5, 2011
20,795
-36
49,366
Country
China
Location
China
how naive are you the little money China spend does not cover a friction of the Depts of Greece ...

This port project is a dead horse right from start....

The fundamental changes Greece has to do is its work ethic... u cant retire with 50 and taking depts and bailouts from nations were people has to work till the age of 67... chinese money does only one thing... Greece is doing what they did the last decads... being lazzy and lifing on growing depts... till the financial system collaps again.
The hard bailouts teach Greece to get more competetive on their own.
Nonsense. The port after takeover is making money. The Chinese are slowly changing the way they work.
 

Georg

FULL MEMBER
Apr 2, 2017
1,235
3
1,416
Country
Germany
Location
Spain
Nonsense. The port after takeover is making money. The Chinese are slowly changing the way they work.
you are not in Europe and you have no idea what you are talking about... how many people from greece you know personal... most likely zerro.... all you belive to know you recive throught chinese state controlled media ;)
 

beijingwalker

ELITE MEMBER
Nov 4, 2011
34,440
1
64,021
Country
China
Location
China
you are not in Europe and you have no idea what you are talking about... how many people from greece you know personal... most likely zerro.... all you belive to know you recive throught chinese state controlled media ;)
I didn't know OP article is of Chinese state controlled source, is it?
 

xenon54 out

ELITE MEMBER
Jun 2, 2013
17,570
20
33,055
Country
Turkey
Location
Switzerland
Nonsense. The port after takeover is making money. The Chinese are slowly changing the way they work.
I think you guys arent familiar with the mediterranian ''dolce vita'' lifestyle, changing the way they work. :rofl:

Greece started the game with 0-1 disadvantage already.

 

Georg

FULL MEMBER
Apr 2, 2017
1,235
3
1,416
Country
Germany
Location
Spain
I think you guys arent familiar with the mediterranian ''dolce vita'' lifestyle, changing the way they work. :rofl:

Greece started the game with 0-1 disadvantage already.


as I said this state propaganda spreading troll has zerro clue what happen in Europe
 

zectech

SENIOR MEMBER
Aug 12, 2018
2,895
-1
3,496
Country
Italy
Location
Netherlands
I think you guys arent familiar with the mediterranian ''dolce vita'' lifestyle, changing the way they work. :rofl:

Greece started the game with 0-1 disadvantage already.

True, the Russians and Western Europeans never cared about the Greeks. Their path to freedom was with the Prussians and Italians, which was rejected. Greeks has mush for brains in thinking their Orthodox 'brothers' care about them one bit. And they have some strange loyalty to the Western Europeans for their support against the Ottomans.

Greeks have screwed themselves over with fake friends. China is a more honest player in geopolitics. If Greeks want freedom, China is the way out.
 
Last edited:

Georg

FULL MEMBER
Apr 2, 2017
1,235
3
1,416
Country
Germany
Location
Spain
True, the Russians and Western Europeans never cared about the Greeks. Their path to freedom was with the Prussians and Italians, which was rejected. Greeks has mush for brains in thinking their Orthodox 'brothers' care about them one bit. And they have some strange loyalty to the Western Europeans for their support against the Ottomans.

Greeks have screwed themselves over with fake friends. China is a more honest player in geopolitics. If Greeks want freedom, China is the way out of their hell.
China is no way out of hell ...thats utterly bullcrap... the only way geece need to go is selfreflection and correcting some of their behaivor ...

stop lifing on pump
work longer (reteirment age is much to low)
more effecive state.... greece payed millions of pensions to people dead since years...

and the list of wirred costly things they did is long
 

fitpOsitive

ELITE MEMBER
May 27, 2015
8,120
14
9,382
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
China is no way out of hell ...thats utterly bullcrap... the only way geece need to go is selfreflection and correcting some of their behaivor ...

stop lifing on pump
work longer (reteirment age is much to low)
more effecive state.... greece payed millions of pensions to people dead since years...

and the list of wirred costly things they did is long
I heard somebody that a guy from Greece was saying : now due these bloody Germans, we have work 6 hours a day :lol:
(I mean 6 hours is too much for them).
 
Last edited:

Beast

ELITE MEMBER
Feb 5, 2011
20,795
-36
49,366
Country
China
Location
China
https://www.thenationalherald.com/2...es-piraeus-2nd-largest-port-in-mediterranean/

China’s Cosco Makes Piraeus 2nd Largest Port in Mediterranean
By TNH Staff February 4, 2019


N. Ikonio, Perama, Piraeus. (Photo: Eurokinissi/Georgia Panagopoulou)

Fought ferociously by Greek unions, the Chinese company Cosco in the decade since it took over the port of Piraeus has remade it into the second-largest in the Mediterranean with ambitious plans to do more, as China seeks to increase investments in the country.

Company officials told the Chinese news agency Xinhua their aim is to make it the biggest, using its expertise and the key geographical position on the European Union’s southern flank, and tie transport of goods delivered via ship to plans to improve railway links.

China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO Group) is a Chinese state-owned shipping and logistics services supplier company that ranks third both in the number of container ships and in aggregate container volume in the world. In 2016, the COSCO Group merged with China Shipping Group to form China COSCO Shipping.

The COSCO group in 2008 got a 35-year franchise right to two of Piraeus’ container terminals and in 2016 bought a 67 percent stake in the port authority for 368.5 million euros ($420.2 million) to become the primary operator.

That came when Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras reneged on a pledge to halt the sale of state assets despite hard-core elements in the party who don’t want any foreign companies running Greek enterprises, or investors.

Piraeus is the key link in what China calls its Belt and Road Initiative, a kind of modern Silk Road to increase trade within the European Union and local officials said the company’s presence is improving the economy and sprucing up the grimy grittiness of the port area.

Vassilis Korkidis, President of Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Xinhua that COSCO’s investment is a “flagship project” for Greece that will help the onset of a rebound from an economic crisis of more than 8 ½-year economic crisis and relentless austerity.

“It was an investment of more than 3.5 billion euros. A lot of activities were motivated with the development of the port, which means new jobs — much better paid jobs than other workers’ in Greece,” he said.

It’s more than just money. There’s planning for future expansion. In the last 10 years, the port’s annual throughput capacity has been raised from the initial 0.68 million TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit) to 4.15 million TEUs in 2017. The port is now ranked 36th among the 100 biggest ports of the world (Lloyd’s List), up from 93rd when the COSCO took over.

“It is a very great achievement and it is still developing. As the most rapidly developing port in the world, we want to keep this pace and strive to be number one in the Mediterranean Sea,” Korkidis said, calling the partnership between COSCO and Greek shipowners – who have the world’s biggest fleet but pay almost no taxes in their homeland – “a great marriage.”

“The COSCO’s investment, in my view, is the only real investment in Greece, because they brought the money and put it into infrastructure,” Korkidis said of a port that had been neglected and run down for years.

Tassos Vamvakidis, PCT Commercial Manager, who who started working at the port 40 years ago when he was 16, told the news agency his decision to work with COSCO came when he saw the company’s transformation of the port, especially the container terminal.

“The port’s situation had been very bad before the COSCO took it over. The customer service at the port was very poor. When I saw the great change later, I happily decided to join in,” Vamvakidis said.

Not everyone thought so when COSCO first came to Greece just ahead of the crisis, seeing the opportunity in the port but where it faced resistance from workers and unions and then from SYRIZA and Tsipras.

“It was one of the very first private investments in Greece ever, so the general reaction of the unions was not very good. And it took us so much time to clarify that COSCO Shipping is an investor, not an invader,” Vamvakidis said.

“Very hard work was done, and day by day, we gained the respect and understanding of the market and the public. I am very happy and honored as a member of this team who convinced the market that they made a very good decision,” he said.

Vamvakidis represented the COSCO Shipping to attend the first Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China. “The Belt and Road Initiative is not just about business investment, it is about people-to-people exchanges,” he said.

“I was at the people-to-people session of the Forum, and I explained how Greeks behave and their love for the sea, the world, and the time-honored civilization,” he told Xinhua.

“I agree with this initiative, which is highly beneficial for Greece. We should spare no efforts joining and supporting the Belt and Road Initiative,” he added.

BIG TURNAROUND

COSCO also said it plans to turn the dingy surroundings into a center for yachts, cruise ships and other services in a 500-million euro ($612.49 million) master plan renovation.

That has been submitted to local organizations and governments around Greece’s largest port after Cosco has for several years been upgrading the infrastructure and trying to bring in bigger ships to help boost the area and tourism.

One of the highlights it to create the biggest shipping and repairs yard in the eastern Mediterranean, with the capacity of servicing up to 450 vessels on an annual basis, including so-called “mega yachts” as Greece is continuing to draw big numbers of foreign visitors, helping bring in critical revenues during a nearly 8-year-long economic crisis.

The port management also wants to build four new hotels along with a new facility able to handle another six cruise ships and an adjacent mall, the business newspaper Naftemporiki said. Cosco has said it wants to use Piraeus as a home port for cruises catering to Chinese tourists, among others.

The plan also refers to a continued increase in container traffic, the off-loading of new vehicles and the port’s connection with regional logistics hubs via a freight rail line as Cosco wants to use the port as a gateway to the rest of the European Union.

Piraeus will become a terminus for the Proastiakos suburban railway, connecting the port to the international airport at Spata, northeast of the capital, said Kathimerini, which will take about an hour, far less than using a bus or a combination that includes the Metro.

The new line will further connect Piraeus to Kiato in northern Corinthia and Halkida in Evia. Service on the Proastiakos will be much more frequent between Piraeus and central Athens, running every 15-20 minutes during rush hour instead of once an hour.
 

Beast

ELITE MEMBER
Feb 5, 2011
20,795
-36
49,366
Country
China
Location
China
https://fortune.com/longform/cosco-piraeus-port-athens/

Cosco says it is generating such jobs. While many Greeks worried that Chinese control would mean that imported workers would displace Athenians, only a handful of the port’s staff is Chinese, and those are managers, rarely seen amid the ships and stacks of containers. Cosco’s chairman, Xu Lirong, recently told Chinese media that the company has created 3,100 jobs for Greeks and added about $337 million a year to the Greek economy—a meaningful sum in a country with GDP of about $200 billion. The port’s revenues were about $151 million last year, up 19.2% from 2017, and Cosco says it is aiming to more than double the container volume Piraeus handles.

At the national level, events are moving in Cosco’s favor. After campaigning against foreign takeovers, Tsipras’s Syriza Party was trounced in elections in early July. Voters wrung out from years of tax increases and belt-tightening voted in the New Democracy Party. Its leader, new Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is a 51-year-old, Harvard-educated former venture capitalist who promises to lure big investors. In a conference about the BRI in Athens weeks before the election, the vice president of New Democracy, Adonis Georgiadis, said the party “welcomes Chinese companies to invest and grow in Greece.”

On a walk through Piraeus, worries about China’s influence seem dwarfed by the towers of containers on the dockside—bulky symbols of the port’s prosperity. Giorgos Gogos, general secretary of the local Dockworkers Union, says the era of strikes and protests is over—for now. That harmony could end if Cosco threatens union workers’ incomes. Still, after a decade of recession and pain, Piraeus’s dockworkers sense the chance for growth—or, at least, stability. “We are tired of struggling all the time,” Gogos says. “We need a period of peace.” For now, that desire for peace seems to outweigh national pride. 

China are slowly reshaping Greece Union labour practice and passed on our hardwork enthics to Greece with a certain amount of success.

One thing Chinese raise about western labour union massive fault which invokes a lot of emotion for Greece workforce, is western labour system is never fair about rewarding productive work or workers who work harder to get more. Western Union labour system is more about protecting workers that included parasite or lazy worker who never put enough effort as others hardworking workers. This causes a lot of resentment among diligent workers. If a worker is lazy, always late for work, poor attitude and deserves to be sack. But western labour union is BS, they feel any workers right need to be protected.

A lot of Greece workforce who are willing to work hard and get what they deserve agree to Chinese way of practice and China are slowly reshaping not only Greece but even in America, they way of rewarding workforce and the system.

This is the reason why Greece port taken over by Chinese starts to make money and more productive. All those workers who choose to work there are willing to make a change for their life and committed. While parasite or lazy workers who just want to enjoy themselves at home will have no place in there..
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Top