Former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told China’s Xinhua that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) can build a bridge between the European Union and Asia.
“The Belt and Road Initiative should become a project of new relations, building the new and future relations of the European Union with Asia and of course with China,” he said.
Greece has a role to play, as it has “worked closely with China for many years,” he stressed.
The former Greek leader cited China’s COSCO Shipping investment in Piraeus, Greece’s largest port, in recent years, as an example of fruitful cooperation between Greece and China.
The Chinese company acquired the majority of Piraeus Port Authority S.A. (PPA) shares in 2016 after an international tender, while its subsidiary, Piraeus Container Terminal S.A. (PCT), has managed the port’s container terminal since 2009.
Piraeus has since witnessed impressive results in recent years, becoming the largest port in the Mediterranean and the fourth in all of Europe, behind only Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg.
The investment for the port’s upgrade and expansion, which continues also in the context of the BRI, has helped cooperation between China and Europe.
This is because Piraeus has been transformed into a major trading hub, transportation hub for goods both ways, Papandreou noted.
“Greece and China, as ancient cultures, have a lot to give not only to each other, but to the world,” the former PM stressed.
Regarding the prospects of bilateral cooperation towards common development and prosperity, he said Greece and China could work together on many areas.
In addition to trade, the two sides can collaborate on environment, tourism, as well as the exchange of traditional knowledge in medicine and wellness, among others, explained Papandreou, whose son has studied acupuncture in China.