Πολύ ενδιαφέρον άρθρο των New York Times για τις κόντρες στο τρίγωνο Ελλάδας-ΕΕ-Κίνας. Βλέπε “Chastised by E.U., a Resentful Greece Embraces China’s Cash and Interests”, Αύγουστος 2017.
Το άρθρο γράφει ότι η Κίνα θεωρεί την Ελλάδα πύλη εισόδου στην Ευρώπη, και ότι η Κίνα κάνει στην Ελλάδα μεγάλες επενδύσεις, και η Ελλάδα ως αντάλλαγμα μπλοκάρει τις καταδικαστικές αποφάσεις της ΕΕ εναντίον της Κίνας για τις παραβιάσεις των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και για τις κινήσεις της στην Νότια Κινεζική Θάλασσα, όπως και τις επικλήσεις κάποιων Ευρωπαϊκών χωρών για σκληρότερο monitoring των Κινεζικών επενδύσεων στην Ευρώπη (παρ 3).
Οι Αμερικανοί και οι Ευρωπαίοι πάντα φοβόνται την επιρροή της Ρωσίας στην Ελλάδα, αλλά είναι η Κίνα που έχει αποκτήσει τεράστια επιρροή στην χώρα (παρ 4 και 5).
Η Κίνα θεωρεί την Ελλάδα τον πιο αξιόπιστο σύμμαχο της στην ΕΕ. (παρ 7).
Ο επικεφαλής εξωτερικών υποθέσεων και άμυνας της Ελληνικής Βουλής κύριος Κώστας Δουζίνας ισχυρίζεται ότι η Κίνα φέρεται στην Ελλάδα ως φίλη χώρα ενώ οι Ευρωπαίοι ως μεσαιωνικές βδέλλες. (παρ 8).
Όταν το 2015 οι Έλληνες εκλέξανε τον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ η Κίνα ήταν η χώρα που ανησύχησε περισσότερο, φοβούμενη ότι θα καταστεί άχρηστη η επένδυση της στον Πειραιά. Ο Κινέζος Πρέσβης στην Ελλάδα ήταν ο πρώτος που συνάντησε τον Αλέξη Τσίπρα και τον πίεσε να τηρήσει τις δεσμεύσεις της προηγούμενης κυβέρνησης για τον Πειραιά (η οποία να πω φέρνει την Ελλάδα απέναντι από την Τουρκία στο θέμα των Χερσαίων και των Θαλάσσιων Δρόμων του Μεταξιού). Παρ 20, 21, 22.
Να θυμίσω ότι όταν ο Καραμανλής και ο Σαμαράς έκαναν την αποκρατικοποίηση του Πειραιά ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ μαζί με το ΠΑΣΟΚ του Γιωργάκη έκαναν επεισόδια στο Λιμάνι.
Όσο ο ΣΥΡΙΖΑ άφηνε ανοιχτό το θέμα του Πειραιά τα Κινεζικά κρατικά ΜΜΕ έγραφαν άρθρα που αμφισβητούσαν την φιλία της Ελλάδας προς την Κίνα, και οι Κινέζοι ασκούσαν μεγάλες πιέσεις τον νέο Έλληνα πρωθυπουργό. Αμέσως η κυβέρνηση ΣΥΡΙΖΑ ανακοίνωσε ότι θα αναβαθμίσει τις σχέσεις Ελλάδας-Κίνας και συμφώνησε για το Λιμάνι (φαντάζομαι με το αζημίωτο), και λίγο αργότερα Κινεζικές φρεγάτες έφτασαν στον Πειραιά (παρ 23, 24).
Ο Κινέζος δισεκατομμυριούχος Guo Guangchang, στον οποίο ανήκει το Fosun International Holdings, συμμετέχει με τους Καταριανούς και τον Λάτση (Lamda Development) στην επένδυση στο Ελληνικό, στο οποίο οι Κινέζοι και οι Άραβες φιλοδοξούν να φέρουν 1.5 Κινέζους τουρίστες τα επόμενα 5 χρόνια.
Μετά τον ΒΠΠ οι ΗΠΑ έδωσαν πολλά χρήματα στην Ελλάδα, αλλά δεν ήταν πάντα δημοφιλείς αφού την εποχή του Ψυχρού Πολέμου με τους Σοβιετικούς οι ΗΠΑ στήριξαν την δικτατορία του 1967. Παρ 41.
Έχω αναφέρει ξανά τα δάνεια που δίνουν οι κρατικές Κινεζικές τράπεζες σε Ελληνικές εφοπλιστικές εταιρείες για να μεταφέρουν Κινεζικά προϊόντα στον Πειραιά. Βλέπε Wall Street Journal “China Attracts Greek Ship Owners”, Σεπτέμβριος 2013.
Επίσης, οι Ευρωπαίοι και οι Ιταλοί κατηγορούν την Κίνα και την Ελλάδα ότι βάζουν στην Ελλάδα και την ΕΕ λαθραία Κινεζικά προϊόντα χωρίς να πληρώνουν τον σχετικό ΦΠΑ και τα στέλνουν Ευρώπη.
Βλέπε Reuters “EU suspects tax fraud at
China's new gateway to Europe”
«Η Ελλάδα είναι η πύλη της Κίνας στην Ευρώπη»
EU's criticism at UN of China's human rights recordhttps://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/18/greece-eu-criticism-un-china-human-rights-record Greece
“EU suspects tax fraud at
China's new gateway to Europe”
Wall Street Journal “
Attracts Greek Ship Owners”, Σεπτέμβριος 2013 China
Για το άρθρο της New York Times βλέπε
“Chastised by E.U., a Resentful Greece Embraces China’s Cash and Interests”, Αύγουστος 2017
After years of struggling under austerity imposed by European partners and a chilly shoulder from the
United States, Greece has embraced the advances of , its most ardent and geopolitically ambitious suitor. China
While Europe was busy squeezing Greece, the Chinese swooped in with bucket-loads of investments that have begun to pay off, not only economically but also by apparently giving China a political foothold in Greece, and by extension, in Europe.
Greece helped stop the European Union from issuing a unified statement against Chinese aggression in the South China Sea. This June, Athens prevented the bloc from condemning ’s human rights record. Days later it opposed tougher screening of Chinese investments in China Europe.
Instead, it is the Chinese who have become an increasingly powerful foreign player in
after years of assiduous courtship and checkbook diplomacy. Greece
Among those initiatives, China plans to make the Greek port of Piraeus the “dragon head” of its vast “One Belt, One Road” project, a new Silk Road into Europe.
Germany treated Greece as the eurozone’s delinquent, China designated a recovery-hungry Greece its “most reliable friend” in Europe.
“While the Europeans are acting towards
like medieval leeches, the Chinese keep bringing money,” said Costas Douzinas, the head of the Greek Parliament’s foreign affairs and defense committee and a member of the governing Syriza party. Greece
If not looking for natural resources in Europe,
has for years invested heavily across the bloc, its largest trading partner. Yet now concerns are rising that China is using its economic clout for political leverage. Beijing
Mr. Douzinas said
China had never explicitly asked for support on the human rights vote or on other sensitive issues, though he and other Greek officials acknowledge that explicit requests are not necessary. Greece
“If you’re down and someone slaps you and someone else gives you an alm,” Mr. Douzinas said, “when you can do something in return, who will you help, the one who helped you or the one who slapped you?”
The Trump administration, recognizing it has a geopolitical and economic challenger, recently intervened to help lift an American deal over a Chinese competitor — and the Greeks seemed happy to play one power off the other.
E.U. officials are concerned that
is buying silence on human rights issues and undermining the bloc’s ability to speak with one voice. Analysts say China China targets smaller countries in need of cash, among them Spain, and others that suffered in the financial crisis. Portugal Hungary, where China is pledging to spend billions on a railway, also blocked the E.U. statement on the South China Sea.
Many analysts have noted that
Greece’s human rights veto came as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras returned from a summit meeting in in May, where he signed billions of euros’ worth of new investment memorandums with Chinese companies. Beijing
Greek officials insisted that, despite all the Chinese investments, the country identified with, and was loyal to, the E.U. and did not do
’s bidding. Some European officials are not so sure. China
“The Greek government needs to choose where its alliances lie and realize the E.U. is not only a market, but first and foremost a community of values,” said Marietje Schaake, a prominent member of the European Parliament from the
Over the summer, Chancellor Angela Merkel of
tightened rules to limit takeovers of German strategic assets, a move aimed at Chinese state-backed firms. As Ms. Merkel put it to a German newspaper after Germany Greece’s vote blocking the condemnation of Chinese human rights violations, Europe “has to speak with in one voice.” China
She added that
’s economic might allowed it to pressure weaker European nations. “Seen from China Beijing,” she added, “ Europe is an Asian peninsula.”
In January 2015, Greek voters shook
Europe by electing the radical leftist Syriza party and its leader, Mr. Tsipras. He had campaigned to end the austerity measures of the E.U. and halt privatizations like the . Boisterous protesters spilled into port of Piraeus Athens, waving Syriza flags and denouncing the European power centers, Brussels and . Berlin
But it was
that became quietly nervous. Beijing China’s years of laborious and expensive spadework in Greece suddenly seemed imperiled, especially its investments in . Piraeus
Immediately after Mr. Tsipras took office, the Chinese ambassador, Zou Xiaoli, became the first foreign official to pay him a visit. Mr. Zou pressed Mr. Tsipras to honor the previous Greek government’s commitments to privatize
, according to several people with knowledge of the meeting. Piraeus
Beijing, Chinese officials expressed displeasure, and the state-run news media ran articles questioning Greece’s friendship with . Less than a week later, the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, telephoned Mr. Tsipras to make sure there were no more misunderstandings. China
In response, Mr. Tsipras and his deputies announced an “upgrading of relations between
Greece and .” Within weeks, three Chinese frigates arrived in China port. At a ceremony, Mr. Tsipras affirmed Piraeus Greece’s intent to “serve as China’s gateway into Europe.”
Berlin and Brussels grow wary of Chinese investment, may not care, after suffering under German-enforced austerity attached to the international bailouts that have kept the country afloat since the 2010 debt crisis. Greece
In 2010, as creditors demanded the gutting of pensions and sharp tax increases, the Chinese offered to buy toxic Greek government bonds. In 2013, as
became increasingly subject to creditor budget restrictions, the Chinese spent freely on Greek assets. Greece
Greece has sometimes been a voice in the room at the E.U. for China on sensitive issues — although government officials insist remains loyal to the bloc and to NATO, and is only seeking to strike a balance in a shifting world. Greece
As for scuttling the E.U. statement on
China’s human rights violations — the first time in a decade the bloc was silenced — government officials said viewed the E.U. approach as “unproductive.” After the vote, Greece ’s Foreign Ministry applauded “the relevant E.U. country for sticking to the right position.” China
Along more than 20 miles of coastline outside
Athens, a forest of cranes at the Piraeus port load and unload thousands of containers from and around the world. An ultramodern floating dock is scheduled for arrival in November from China . A planned new Chinese-financed passenger hub is also in the works. China
Chinese goods would travel along a new network of railways and roads radiating up through Central European nations, with the prized destination being
Germany, where invested $12 billion last year alone. China
In the middle of the port, Chinese, Greek and E.U. flags flutter in front of the headquarters of Cosco, which now controls the entire waterfront through its 67 percent stake in the port.
“It’s a kind of neocolonialism without the gunboats,” said Mr. Douzinas with a chuckle.
Greek officials note that, unlike democratic nations that change politicians every few years, the Chinese have a long and steady strategic view.
“They know what they want,” said Stergios Pitsiorlas, the Greek deputy economics minister and one of the government’s point men dealing with
Cosco has brought around 1,000 jobs to the area, but it has outfitted cargo docks with cranes made in
China, not in Greece, and expanded the docks with building materials from . And as China struggles through record joblessness, the company has used subcontractors to hire around 1,500 workers mostly on short-term contracts at wages far below what unionized Greek dockworkers are paid. Greece
“There are more workers, but they earn less income,” said Giorgos Gogos, the general secretary of the
dockworkers union. Piraeus
needs any jobs, and leaders are counting on more Chinese investment. Fosun International Holdings, a Chinese conglomerate run by Guo Guangchang, often referred to as China’s Warren Buffett, is spending billions of euros with a consortium with Greek and Arab investors to convert an abandoned former airport on the seaside outside Athens into a posh playground three times the size of Monaco for moneyed tourists. The project, Hellenikon, is part of a bigger plan to bring over 1.5 million Chinese tourists to Greece during the next five years. Greece
Mr. Tsipras has swept aside regulatory hurdles, clearing two large refugee camps installed in the former airport, and quashing attempts by members of his own party to delay construction because of concerns the project might pave over ancient archaeological sites.
“That also has been unstuck,” said Dimitri B. Papadimitriou, the Greek economy minister.
After World War II, the benefactor showering millions on
Greece was the , courtesy of the Marshall Plan. United States America’s role in Greece wasn’t always popular — especially its support for the country’s military dictatorship during the Cold War — but the was regarded as the gold standard for economic opportunity. Not so much anymore. United States
When former President Obama visited
last November on his final foreign trip, some Syriza officials, bitter that his administration had not intervened more forcefully during the financial crisis, mocked his speech as a funeral oration for his own legacy, worthy of Pericles. Greece
Privately, Mr. Obama’s advisers said the trip also served to demonstrate, somewhat belatedly, American engagement in
in the face of Russian meddling in the region. Greece
But it was
that was most deeply entrenched. Eliot Engel, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, described a “free-for-all for rogue countries” in China . Greece
“We see it with Russia and we see it with China,” he said as he attended a July 4 party at the United States ambassador’s residence in Athens, part of a congressional delegation that had come to drum up business for American companies. “That’s why it’s so important for
to be engaged in the world.” America
Mr. Tsipras is trying to play both sides. Having traveled twice in a year to
Beijing to meet the Chinese president and attend One Belt, One Road forums to draw investment, he has recently welcomed American businessmen and promoted ’s recovery to American lawmakers. Greece
In May, when Fosun and two other Chinese companies bid to take over a major Greek insurer, the United States commerce secretary, Wilbur L. Ross, intervened to help push the deal into the hands of Calamos Investments, a Greek-American consortium whose chief executive is a backer of President Trump. The Exin Group, a Dutch partnership with Calamos, eventually won the bid.
“He sent us a letter asking us to look at Calamos,” said Mr. Papadimitriou, the economy minister. Any deal, Mr. Ross implied in the letter, “could be the beginning of more investments in
,” Mr. Papadimitriou recalled. Greece
Some Greek government officials cited Fosun’s defeat as evidence that
Athens wasn’t under ’s sway. China
“We are sensitive to being viewed as someone else’s colony,” said
’s maritime minister. “Nothing can move forward without the agreement of the Greek state.” Panagiotis Kouroumblis, Greece