Greece: China shops for crisis bargains
20 May 2010
"They want Piraeus to be their doorway to Europe," announces the front page of Ta Nea. "They" refers to the management of China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO), which, in the wake of a 2009 concession deal for control of part of the port of Piraeus, "has now expressed its intention to buy the ports of Thessalonika, Kavala and Alexandroupolis in the north of the country." The daily adds that "COSCO's red CEO," Wei Jiafu "is also looking to acquire stakes in other Greek industries including railways, commercial shipping and tourism, as well as airport management concessions in Crete and elsewhere." It was on this basis that "Capitain Wei" met with Prime Minister Georges Papandreou, who is hoping to obtain a deal for three billion dollars worth of investment," explains Ta Nea. In a similar report under the headline "Greece to become China's doorway to Europe," Süddeutsche Zeitung notes that the COSCO's interest amounts to "a glimmer of hope in the economic gloom hanging over Greece." At the same time, the German daily worries that COSCO may opt to move its European headquarters from Hamburg to Athens.