ATHENS – With Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras claiming he wants more Chinese investments – he went to Beijing to take part in a critical forum – planned renovations for the port of Piraeus under control of the Chinese company COSCO are still stuck in limbo with signs problems with the government will get worse.
COSCO’s Master Plan calls for a 612-million euro ($682.83 million) overhaul that’s being blocked for now by an archaeological council and hard-core SYRIZA members furiously fighting all foreign investors.
Relations between the government and COSCO are now strained to the breaking point, said Kathimerini, after a meeting over the planned renovations that local businesses also are fighting because it includes a mall that would compete with them.
The plan plan requires decisions on land usage and construction terms, which along with the environmental study will lead to a Presidential decree but an archaeological council ruling the whole port is an archaeological area is perhaps the biggest stumbling block.
The Culture Ministry also has objections as well as the Environment Ministry, with tension stepping up as COSCO and China is getting impatient over delays and obstacles similar to those holding up the $8 billion redevelopment of the abandoned Hellenikon International Airport on Athens’ southern coast, a tie to Piraeus in the so-called Greek Riviera.
Authorities are also refusing to approve the plans for the development of a logistics center, shipyards and a mall, while the Culture Ministry’s demand for the removal of the legally licensed and operating shipyards from the OLP concession zone at Kynosoura has evolved into a major issue, the paper said.
COSCO, which has the major stake in the port after Tsipras reneged on anti-privatization vows and gave the go-ahead, wants to increase its holding another 16 percent – having already paid for it, expecting approval.
Three years after getting a 51 percent stake in the port, the company still hasn’t been given a license for it with signs the master plan will be on the shelf for some time, as well the Hellenikon plan even though Tsipras said the country desperately needs foreign investors.