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Die Zeit: China conquers Europe with Piraeus as its beachhead

German newspaper Die Zeit highlights China's great aspirations to expand its activity and influence in Europe through the port of Piraeus.

"Piraeus is constantly developing and is going to change freight traffic in Europe," the weekly newspaper reporter notes. He also visited the port of Piraeus, where he met with the representative of the Port Authority Nektarios Demenopoulos, who pointed out that "the famous Naval Battle of Salamis was held in this sea area.

As the columnist comments, 2,500 years ago Greek ships had defeated the Persian fleet there. "Today, however, Asia is again there, exactly at the same point, and wants to conquer Europe. This time, however, peacefully," he writes.

The report, published on Die Zeit's website, states that "Cosco builds its central springboard in Europe in the periphery of Athens, without any great consideration from the north of the continent. The new trade route that is being created now may, however, cause some rifts in the overall movement of goods in Central Europe."

Extensive investments

The newspaper highlights the extensive investments China has launched in the privatization of the Piraeus Port Authority, with Nektarios Demenopoulos stressing that "a lot has been done here" since Cosco took over in Piraeus.

"It is like Yin and Yang, a give and take between Greece and China: The latter exchanges investments, jobs and infrastructure for land in a strategically important area," says the columnist, adding:

"It is typical for China to seek for such investments states in a difficult economic situation, but offer opportunities with great potential. China wants to make Piraeus the last maritime station of the New Silk Road, which it is building at this time with a lot of effort and billions of dollars. "

Doubts if both sides benefit equally

The report talks about over-tripling the volume of imported goods from Piraeus, but expresses doubts about the official Chinese claim that it is a win-win situation. As he notes, "doubts arise as to whether or not both sides really benefit, or whether win-win means that China benefits twofold.

That is at least the content of a sarcastic joke told among experts about China. "

The Chinese are pushing for projects ignoring environmental impact

As noted in the report, although no one in the Greek government admits formally or informally that China is attempting to exert direct influence in Greece, a "senior executive" official told the German newspaper that the Chinese are trying to push for the realization of projects without taking into account their environmental and social impacts.