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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 16-04-08

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Deal between Piraeus port and Cosco will shorten the Silk Road
  • [02] Greece and lenders need to reach a deal in next few days, source tells ANA-MPA
  • [03] Ministries unveil online database issuing official certificates to Greek expats

  • [01] PM Tsipras: Deal between Piraeus port and Cosco will shorten the Silk Road

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will visit Beijing in June following an official invitation by his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, it was announced on Friday, following the signing of the sale of a majority stake of Piraeus port (OLP) to China's Cosco in central Athens.

    The deal was signed by Cosco's chairman Xu Lirong, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the head of Greece's privatization agency (HRADF), Stergios Pitsiorlas signed the deal at Maximos Mansion and a ceremony followed at Zappeion.

    According to the deal, Cosco will acquire 51 pct of Piraeus Port (OLP) for 280.5 million euros and the remaining 16 pct for 88 million after five years, once it concludes mandatory investments. The concession deal will last until 2052.

    Speaking after the deal was signed, Tsipras said the amended agreement between the Greek and Chinese side for the development of Piraeus provides a very important opportunity to give a new perspective for growth in the long relations between the two countries.

    "This amended deal comes at a crucial time for Greece, at the end of a very difficult era and at the start of a new, more optimistic era, when the weight will shift towards restarting the economy. For this, investment activities - especially those who can attract other important investments – have a special importance and value to us," he noted.

    Tsipras also said the deal sends a message for attracting new investments to Greece, showing the country is open to investments "as long as these investments respect labour laws and the country's environmental law, in the way that this deal does."

    The prime minister noted that Greece's geographical position and its EU membership allows it to become China's main partner in its economic, trade and cultural activities, which could then be promoted to the European continent. "We aspire to become a bridge between East and West and, on your side, I believe that through this agreement you will be able to shorten even more the renowned 'Silk Road'. The facilities but also the opportunities here in Greece to build a trusted partnership can also provide speed and efficiency in the transport of goods from China to the Mediterranean and Central Europe," he said.

    On their side, HRADF head Pitsiorlas and Cosco's Xu Lirong noted the importance of the deal saying it is a big step in the strategic cooperation between the port and the Chinese shipping giant.

    Xu Lirong also said Cosco is committed to a harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the port of Piraeus. "We'll invest to the upgrade of the infrastructure and the modernization of the port equipment and we will manage each service with a modern mentality," he said. "We intend to turn Piraeus into the largest container hub in the Mediterranean; we'll reform the car area and strengthen the supply chain. We will invest in maintaining the shipbuilding infrastructure, seek a greater share in the cruise sector and organize coastal shipping. Piraeus will become the international distribution center of the eastern Mediterranean."

    The head of Cosco also said the company is dedicated to long-term growth in Greece. "We'll spend capital, even our blood for this port. We'll turn Piraeus into the pearl of the Mediterranean. The port of Piraeus is like Argo; let it open its sails and bring the goldenfleece," he said.

    On his side, China's Ambassador to Greece, Zou Xiaoli, spoke of a further contribution to the region's development and conveyed the congratulations of the Chinese Premier, while noting the jump in Chinese investments that this deal will bring to Greece. "The port, along with the railway tracks of Hungary and Serbia which have started being constructed, will improve the effectiveness of the transports between China, Asia and Europe," he explained.

    The ambassador also said today's signing of the deal is China's vote of confidence for the Greek economy and Greece's vote of confidence to the Chinese investment and a common future. "We are looking forward to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras' visit to China this year," he added.

    [02] Greece and lenders need to reach a deal in next few days, source tells ANA-MPA

    BRUSSELS (ANA-MPA/M.Aroni) - The need to have a deal between Greece and its creditors on an overall package of measures and reforms in the next couple of days was noted by a Eurozone source to ANA-MPA on Friday.

    "Decisions are now in the hands of the Greek government, either there's a decision on an overall package of reforms until Sunday night, or not," a Eurozone official told ANA-MPA. The same source said that if there's a deal in the next few days then the next disbursement of aid could take place at the beginning of June.

    [03] Ministries unveil online database issuing official certificates to Greek expats

    A new project that will allow Greeks living abroad to request and receive official certificates online from the country's consular offices around the world was unveiled by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Interior Minister Panos Kouroumblis on Friday.

    Speaking during a joint press conference, Kotzias said it is a "jump in the quality of services offered by Greece's consular services throughout the world, facilitating the lives of Greek expatriates."

    When the project begins, Greeks will be able to receive certificates of birth and marital status online, thus cutting time spent searching for such paperwork in Greece and saving money for the State.

    The minister also said the first online database will be launched soon at Greece's consular office in Dusseldorf for a trail period of one week, before it is expanded to other countries.

    On his side, Kouroumblis said this program will bring the diaspora closer to Greece, by showing the country cares and sends them a message of hope and optimism. He also said this connection with the database is the second achieved by the interior ministry, with the first one connecting with a database of the education ministry.

    Kouroumblis also said that the ministry will complete a program of 15 database connections during the year.


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