ATHENS – To commemorate half a century of diplomatic relations, Greece and China are expected to have projects celebrating each other’s cultures and trying to further tie the two together.
There’s also prospects for further investments by Chinese businesses despite European Union worries it’s leading to China getting too big of a foothold in the bloc and having too much influence over governments.
China Daily noted that besides economic deals that there is a joint study program Greek and Chinese Civilizations: A Comparative Approach, which Greece’s University of Patras in the Peloponnese and China’s Southwest University in Chongqing will begin this year and into 2023.
“Above all, our peoples are the modern representatives of two ancient civilizations: Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization, and China, the birthplace of Eastern civilization,” the paper said.
The economic agreements took off after 2006 when they signed their Integrated Strategic Partnership agreement, which upgraded bilateral relations to a strategic partnership, opening the door for more deals.
The China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) now runs the port of Piraeus and has turned it around from a losing venture into one of the best and more productive in the EU, China wanting it as a gateway to the bloc.
As of 2021, COSCO had invested more than 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) resulting in 3,000 direct jobs and more than 10,000 jobs in related services, making the port the fifth businest in the EU, the news site said.
China’s State Grid Corp is a strategic investor in ADMIE, with a 24 percent stake in the Greek power grid operator and has an active interest in acquiring up to 20 percent of the shares in the Ariadne Interconnection, a Crete-Attica electric project.
Greek ships – many of which were built in Chinese shipyards, not Greek – carry Chinese products worldwide, and Chinese banks looking to make a presence in the country as the economy rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bank of China has established a branch in Athens, the first branch of a Chinese bank in Greece, aiming to support Greek companies’ development in the Chinese market and to help Chinese companies invest in Greece, it was said.