Sleepless in #Piraeus

#COSCO are increasingly uneasy about their investment in #Greece. They are desperate to get the go-ahead for a new container terminal (Pier IV), with an estimated capacity of handling some TEU2.8m a year, mostly because of competition. 1/10
In 2020, #TangerMed in #Morocco (run by #Maersk) overtook #Piraeus as the largest container port in the #Mediterranean, and #Valencia got very close. The merger between #Antwerp and #Zeebrugge also adds to what is already a fierce competition between forwarders. 2/10
So far, the government of #Greece has not agreed to the construction of a new container terminal, due to growing resistance to #COSCO’s policies from a motley crew of local stakeholders in #Piraeus and neighbouring municipalities. 3/10
#COSCO can claim an extra 16% of #PiraeusPortAuthority (PPA) shares in August 2021. Yet, they have been pushing for the transfer of the extra stock since 2019, as they knew there would be delays in the completion of mandatory investments worth some €300m. 4/10
#COSCO believe that as holders of 67% of PPA shares they will have a stronger hand in dealing with "irksome" trade union strikes and reactions from other local "trouble-makers", such as city councils, environmental groups and other civil society actors. 5/10
#COSCO blame delays in the completion of mandatory investments on red tape on the part of the Greek public administration, which is not perfect for sure, but this is not the main reason for the delays. There are two broader issues to factor in. 6/10
1. The 2016 agreement on the purchase of PPA stock by #COSCO is heavily tilted towards the Chinese side. As a result, in #Piraeus and adjacent areas the uneven split of socio-economic benefits has caused a lot of frictions that could no longer be pushed under the rug. 7/10
2. #COSCO have been unable to adjust the Chinese way of doing business to the #EU context, as to legal/environmental requirements or engaging authorities & society. They are not used to the judiciary having a say, this is not how they work in #China or developing countries. 8/10
#COSCO became edgy in 2020, but realised "the Chinese way of doing business" wouldn't fly in #Greece:

Hard to say whether COSCO will push things to the limit (arbitration?). At present, both sides are still trying to reach an amicable settlement. 9/10
#Geopolitics, e.g. the #US-#China confrontation, is also part of the equation. Given #security challenges in the region, there is little China can offer #Greece, as compared to the #West. An increasingly controversial #BeltandRoad Initiative is anything but a panacea. 10/10

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More from @TonchevPlamen

10 Feb
The 17+1 flop THREAD

Yesterday’s #China-#CEEC summit was an embarrassment for #Beijing and, to a large extent, a waste of time for Europeans. Nearly a decade after this format was put in place with a lot of fanfare, it’s worth looking back and reflecting what went wrong.
There are five flawed assumptions the 16+1 format (17+1 since 2019) was based on.

1. #CEECs’ expectations that #China would be THE source of #FDI capital and a market for their #exports.
The reality:
- 🇨🇳 loans for 🇨🇳 contractors vs limited FDI;
- Growing #trade deficits.

2. Conspicuous discrepancy between the - supposedly - regional nature of the format and #China's preference for bilateral relations. The #WesternBalkans were “more equal” than others, which led to disenchantment and frustration in #EU member states in #CentralEasternEurope.
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