ECONOMY

Foreign investors worried over gov’t plans

International concern is growing following the announcement of the government’s program in Parliament, with worries expressed and interest withdrawn in a number of instances concerning investment and privatization projects.

The Chinese premier has asked the Greek prime minister to support his country’s plans for investing in Piraeus port, the chief executive of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold, Paul Wright, arrived in Athens on Thursday to speak to the government about the mines it controls in Halkidiki after Environment and Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis pledged to cancel the investment at Skouries, and Italy’s Terna announced its withdrawal from the bidding for the acquisition of power grid operator ADMIE.

A week ago the notable absence of foreign oil companies rendered the tender for the concession of blocks for hydrocarbon surveying and utilization in western Greece a Greek-only affair, following the withdrawal of three major multinationals (Total, Shell and Repsol) and the last-minute dropout by Italy’s Enel.

Beijing’s concern about a halt in the privatization process for Piraeus Port Authority was reflected in the phone conversation that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which was published on the Chinese government’s website on Thursday. Li assured Tsipras that the Cosco investment in Piraeus “has favored job creation,” adding: “I hope both sides respect their commitments. China wishes to cooperate with Greece to turn this port into a transit junction between China and Europe. We hope that the Greek government supplies the biggest legal guarantees to Chinese enterprises in Greece.”