The Limits of the Dictates

BERLIN/ATHENS/BELGRADE/BEIJING (Own report) – Berlin’s austerity dictate, ruthlessly imposed on Athens, is suffering its first blowbacks, weakening German hegemony over the EU. The China Ocean Shipping Company’s (COSCO) purchase of stakes in the Piraeus Port Authority, Athens had been forced to sell under pressure from Berlin and Brussels, is one example. COSCO, which had already acquired a small share in 2009, has been upgrading the port with investments in the three-digit millions. In the meantime, Piraeus has become Europe’s eighth largest port and is among the top 40 worldwide. Greece, which economically has been completely ruined by the austerity dictates, is hoping for more Chinese investments – and is no longer willing to participate in the EU’s routine official condemnation of China at the UN Human Rights Council. A similar development can be seen with Serbia. As part of its “Silk Road” initiative, China is planning to upgrade the rail line between Belgrade and Budapest. For the Serbian government, this offers hopes for a long term recovery. Brussels has now launched a probe into this project. According to experts, a policy based solely on austerity dictates and open pressure, as has been pursued by Berlin and the EU, can no longer be successful “in a multi-polar world.”

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China’s Project of the Century

BEIJING/BERLIN (Own report) – Berlin und Brussels are obstructing China’s “New Silk Road” mega project. Last Sunday, the EU refused to sign a declaration pertaining to this project at an international summit in Beijing with representatives from more than 100 countries, including 29 heads of states and governments. Beijing plans to invest trillions in this project to develop overland and maritime transport corridors from East Asia to Europe. It is considered one of today’s most important economic-strategic projects. A similar project, initiated by Berlin and Brussels in 1993 was a failure. China seeks new markets for its economy, but also seeks to consolidate unstable regions in the West of the People’s Republic. The “New Silk Road” is intended to closely connect the economies in Europe and Asia – without the United States, which had opposed it. German interests are contradictory: While business circles hope for new profits through intensified cooperation, China’s rise, propelled by this project, is challenging Germany and the EU’s geopolitical interests. Thus, Berlin and Brussels are taking an ambivalent position. Continue reading

It’s Not Going to Get Any Better for Greece in 2016

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Sotiris Alexopoulos has been helping the desperate and destitute spawned by Greece’s economic free fall since he lost his job in 2010. This year, he began catering to a new group of stricken people: the thousands of refugees arriving at the port of Piraeus.

“We are like them, we had the same needs,” Alexopoulos, 65, said as he helped distribute food and clothing to some of the 1,400 who had traveled overnight on a ferry from the island of Lesvos, [sic] their entry point to Europe. “We are the poor people doing something to help ourselves.” Continue reading

The Strategic Consequences of “Grexit”

  • Last January, ISIS revealed that it is smuggling terrorists into Europe by hiding them among the immigrants leaving Turkey.
  • “If Europe leaves us in the crisis, we will flood it with immigrants, and it will be even worse for Berlin if in that wave… there will be some jihadists of the Islamic State, too.” — Panos Kammenos, Defense Minister of Greece
  • Greece is a member of NATO. The whole world witnessed how the Defense Minister of one NATO country was threatening other NATO members with unleashing Islamic terrorists on them.
  • A Greek exit will lead to a power vacuum in the southeastern corner of Europe, which Russia (and China) will be only too eager to fill. The Chinese are currently negotiating with the Greek government to acquire an even larger part of the port of Piraeus.

If Greece leaves the EU, it is highly unlikely that it will try to prevent the illegal immigrants from travelling on to the rest of Europe. On the contrary, in March, Greek defense minister Panos Kammenos vowed to flood the rest of Europe with immigrants if the EU should allow Greece to go bankrupt. “If Europe leaves us in the crisis, we will flood it with immigrants, and it will be even worse for Berlin if in that wave of millions of economic immigrants there will be some jihadists of the Islamic State, too,” the Greek minister said. All the newcomers to Greece, Kammenos said, would be given papers, so they “could go straight to Berlin.” Greece is a member of NATO. The whole world could witness how the defense minister of one NATO country was threatening other NATO members with unleashing Islamic terrorists on them.

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Greece in advanced talks with China’s Cosco on Piraeus port

May 15 Greece is in advanced discussions with China’s Cosco to boost their cooperation in the country’s biggest port Piraeus , the Greek defence minister said on Friday.

Cosco, which currently manages two container piers at Piraeus Port, is also interested in acquiring a majority stake. Athens has put the port up for sale. Continue reading

Stunned Greeks React To Initial Capital Controls And The “Decree To Confiscate Reserves”, And They Are Not Happy

Earlier today, following weeks of speculation, Greece finally launched the first shot across the bow of capital controls, when it decreed that due to an “extremely urgent and unforeseen need” (ironically the need was quite foreseen since about 2010, but that is a different story), it would be “obliged” to transfer – as in confiscate – “idle cash reserves” located across the country’s local governments (i.e., various cities and municipalities) to the Greek central bank.

Several hours later the decree which was posted in the government gazette has finally percolated among the population, and the response to what even ordinary Greeks realize is now the endgame, is less than exuberant. Continue reading

One Port, Two Worlds: China Seeks Dominance in Athens Harbor

Russia and China are both successfully putting a wedge between America and Europe. With their tightening grip on Athens, Europe is threatened in its own homeland and will eventually decide to turn their backs on America. The alternative is to risk potential military conflict with Russia. In the future you will likely see a third marriage between Russia and Europe — and Russian military bases in Greece.

 

A Chinese executive with shipping company Cosco has helped transform part of Athen’s Port of Piraeus into a success story. The multinational firm now has a controversial plan to acquire the whole facility and put it on track to join the ranks of Hamburg and Rotterdam.

One could argue that China’s long path to Piraeus, Greece, began on April 27, 1961. It’s the day Mao Zedong founded the communist state’s first freight company, the China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO). The Great Leap Forward, Mao’s plan for industrialization, had proven to be a disaster at the time, leaving millions dead or starving. With Cosco, China had its eyes on overseas markets.

Almost 54 years later, the company is steering toward a major prize in Greece. After lengthy wavering, the Greek government– comprised of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, his far-left Syriza party and the right-wing populist Independent Greeks — has announced it will be selling the majority of its share in Athens’ Piraeus Port Authority. So far, Cosco is the most promising bidder. Continue reading

Chinese naval escort fleet commences visit to Greece

A subtle hint for the German-led EU and its Troika:

 

The 18th Chinese naval escort fleet arrived in the Greek port of Piraeus on Monday morning, commencing a four-day goodwill visit after such visits to Greece in 2002 and 2010.

Rear Admiral George Leventis, the superintendent of the Hellenic Naval Academy, along with a Guard of Honour from the Hellenic Navy, held a welcome ceremony for the Chinese fleet. More than 300 Chinese, led by Chinese ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli, greeted the arrival of the fleet.

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China Expects to Win Control of Biggest Greek Port Dubbed ‘Gateway to Europe’

Chinese government-owned shipping and logistics giant COSCO is expected to complete the purchase of a controlling stake in Piraeus Port as it continues to take advantage of Greece’s privatisation programme.

Speaking at a conference in Athens, China’s ambassador to Greece Zou Xiaoli urged Chinese companies to explore further opportunities to invest in the beleaguered Mediterranean nation, which, as a condition of its bailout programme, is auctioning any saleable assets that remain in public control.

China views Greece as being a potential logistical hub, as it seeks to boost trade into Europe. Piraeus, being one of Europe’s largest passenger ports and the largest container port in the Eastern Mediterranean, is at the heart of its plans. Continue reading