Saturday, May 13, 2017

PM Alexis Tsipras in China: Promoting the interests and aspirations of Greek capitalists

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/pm-alexis-tsipras-in-china-promoting.html

The role of Greece as a “bridge” between China and the EU is the major aim of the Greek government, in an effort to promote and expand the aspirations of the country’s bourgeoisie. The visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Beijing, on the occasion of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (May 14-15) serves this purpose.

Greece is at a crossroads of three continents, it constitutes an important hub in the economic, energy and cultural sectors and can serve as a bridge between China and Europe, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Saturday in a meeting with the Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Tsipras underlined that Greece has worked hard over the last year to upgrade the relation between the two counties which is based on the two ancient civilizations. He added that Greece is overcoming the crisis, has returned to positive growth rates and will soon tap the markets. The prime minister said that Greece aims at further strengthening the cooperation with Beijing as China’s strategic vision coincides with that of Greece.

On his part, the president of China stressed the particular dynamism and vigor that is now recorded in the two countries’ relationship. Jinping added that the Greek-Chinese relationship would be further strengthened. (ANA-MPA, 13/5/2017).

The visit of PM Tsipras in Beijing coincides with agreements between Chinese and Greek monopoly groups on energy projects. Here is an example:

China’s state Shenhua Group Corp Ltd., the largest coal producer in the world and one of the largest energy producers of conventional and renewable sources in the country, and Copelouzos Group, one of the largest investment groups in Greece, signed on Friday an agreement for cooperation and development in the green energy sector and in the environmental upgrading of energy generating units in Greece and other countries.

The estimated amount of the investments will total 3 billion euros, Copelouzos Group said in a press release.

“Our Group believes in green energy and the prospects of Greece. We are confident that the cooperation with Shenhua Group will act as a catalyst for the conclusion of important investments and will promote the energy industry in Greece, with an emphasis on green energy and the environmental upgrading of energy producing units,” the head of Copelouzos Group, Dimitris Copelouzos, said on the deal. (ANA-MPA, 12/5/2017).

According to the Reuters report from Beijing:

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered the prime minister of deeply indebted Greece strong support on Saturday, saying the two countries should expand cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications. Xi told Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras that Greece was an important part in China’s new Silk Road strategy.

“At present, China and Greece’s traditional friendship and cooperation continues to glow with new dynamism,” China’s Foreign Ministry cited Xi as saying. Cooperation in infrastructure, energy and telecommunications should be “deep and solid”, Xi added, without giving details. Tsipras is in Beijing to attend a summit to promote Xi’s vision of expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe underpinned by billions of dollars in infrastructure investment called the Belt and Road initiative.

Greek infrastructure development group Copelouzos has signed a deal with China’s Shenhua Group to cooperate in green energy projects and the upgrade of power plants in Greece and other countries, the Greek company said on Friday. The deal will involve total investment of 3 billion euros ($3.28 billion), Copelouzos said in a statement, without providing further details. China has been investing heavily in Greece in recent years.

Its biggest shipping company, COSCO Shipping, bought a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority last year under a plan to turn Greece into a transhipment hub for rapidly growing trade between Asia and Eastern Europe. Xi said China and Greece should focus their efforts on turning the Piraeus port into an important international transhipment hub and key part of the new Silk Road, the Chinese ministry said.

China State Grid also agreed last year to buy a 24 percent stake in power grid operator ADMIE for 320 million euros. Greek government borrowing costs hit their lowest level in more than five years this week as the troubled euro zone state looks close to clinching a deal with its creditors to release new loans to it. After six months of tense talks, Athens and its international lenders – the European Union and International Monetary Fund – reached a provisional deal last week on the reforms needed to release new loans. (13/5/2017)

On the sidelines of his Beijing visit, PM Tsipras met with Turkish President Tayip Erdogan earlier today, while a meeting with the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde is on the schedule.

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