The Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, led a huge trade delegation to Beijing in May, and China has shown interest in ports, airports and possibly the national railway.
Athens has even launched a new programme to give Greek residency to those who invest at least 250,000 euros in real estate here. A Chinese man has become the first to benefit.
Under Cosco’s management, the cargo terminal has doubled the containers it processes but its policies, such as banning the unionisation of staff, are strict.
A second terminal at Piraeus is still state-owned and the general secretary of the dockworkers’ union, Giorgos Gogos, wants it to stay that way.
He says China’s strategy is self-seeking, preying on a “vulnerable Greek economy” to reap the benefit.
“Nobody gives money for nothing, especially Chinese companies and the Chinese government,” he says.
“It’s interested in helping itself. The investment in Piraeus is positive for Chinese companies but not for the public interest,” he adds. “Cosco didn’t create the jobs it said it would.”
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