Greek prime minister meets Xi Jinping in Shanghai
Kyriakos Mitsotakis is attending second China International Import Expo in Shanghai
6 Nov 2019 | Michael Marray

In a sign of the growing links between Greece and China, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai on November 4. 

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, leaders of four countries were invited to China to attend the opening ceremony and related events of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE), which is running from November 5 to 10 in Shanghai.

In addition to Mitsotakis, French President Emmanuel Macron, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic are also attending.

In April, the then-Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signed up as the 17th European member of the Cooperation of Central and Eastern European countries and China (which up to that point was known as the 16+1 initiative) while attending the fifth CEEC China Summit in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The initiative is designed to complement China's Belt and Road Initiative, and comprises both European Union Member States and neighbouring countries.

Greece has since had a change of government after a victory by the centre-right liberal conservative New Democracy Party in July. This new government wants to continue to strengthen the country’s relationship with China.

Greece is determined to do all it can to attract foreign investment, Mitsotakis said during the meeting with Xi. 

"Today in Greece there is a government that is determined to facilitating foreign investors, to attracting foreign capital and creating wealth and prosperity for all Greeks in a way that is sustainable and protects the environment," he says.

The Greek premier said his visit, during which he was accompanied by a large business delegation, underlined the "extreme importance" that his conservative government lays upon bilateral relations between the two.

There are numerous opportunities for cooperation, he said, and referred in particular to investments by Cosco Shipping, whose headquarters he visited.

Cosco Shipping acquired a majority stake in Piraeus Port Authority (PPA) in 2016 after an international tender. The Chinese company's subsidiary Piraeus Container Terminal (PCT) has managed the port's container terminals since 2009. It is the largest port in Greece.

In early October, a so-called master plan submitted by PPA was approved by the Greek authorities, opening the way for further investments amounting to 611.8 million euros (US$678 million).

The Greek government is currently in the process of selling a stake in Athens International Airport, and there is one Chinese bidder.

Last week, Greek privatization fund Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund announced that it has received Expressions of Interest from ten bidders for the 30% stake which it owns.

Consortia submitting EIOs included Ferrovial of Spain, Aeroports de Paris Group, and Ardian Infrastructure. Chengdong Investment Corporation, a subsidiary of sovereign wealth fund Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC), has formed a consortium along with Luxembourg-based fund MEIF 6 Attic Investment and Raffles Infra Holding. 

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