Chinese premier vows to invest in Greek railways to improve transport link to Europe

On a visit on Friday to the port of Piraeus, where Chinese shipping giant Cosco controls two cargo terminals, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang expressed Beijing's interest in investing in Greece's railway network in order to accelerate the transport of goods to Europe.

Li stressed the significance of Piraeus for Chinese trade as Cosco is said to be interested in acquiring a 67 percent stake in the Piraeus Port Authority. Piraeus can become "China's gateway to Europe," Li said, noting that the use of the port would reduce by between 7 and 11 days the time it takes to transport Chinese exports to the EU and cut operational costs for Chinese firms.

The Chinese premier added that Beijing is prepared to invest in modernizing and maintaining Greece's railway connections to Europe in order to further increase the efficiency of transporting goods.

He added that China would "encourage" cooperation between Greek and Chinese companies in the ship-building sector.

Li said that Cosco's investment in Greece has created 1,000 jobs.

Samaras, for his part, pointed to "tangible proof of the next generation of investments" for Greece. He noted that Greece is the biggest customer for Chinese shipyards.