The “open” issue of Piraeus Port Authority‘s privatization as well as the wider Chinese interest to strengthen cooperation with Greece was mainly tabled during yesterday’s 50-minute-long meeting between Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Chinese Ambassador in Athens Xiaoli Zou.
The direct Chinese interest regarding the new government’s plans on the Piraeus Port Authority privatization has yet again been confirmed in this meeting, as Beijing and Cosco in particular have wider plans for the country’s largest port. According to Greek media, Kotzias appeared reassuring toward the Chinese Ambassador regarding his country’s interests in Greece, although he repeated the Greek government’s sensitivities in matters of social rights and industrial relations, as such issues have arisen in the past due to some of Cosco’s employment practices.
The meeting was reportedly held in a good spirit and Zou invited Kotzias to visit the Chinese capital as soon as possible, as it is considered a preparatory step to the upcoming visit of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Athens has prioritized the development of its relation with Beijing, particularly in the commercial and financial sector, while the enlargement of the Suez Canal that will allow a larger number of merchant ships to reach the Mediterranean has increased the Chinese interest, aiming at the creation of a products “corridor” to Europe via Greece.