China concerned over OLP delays
A statement by the Chinese ambassador in Athens at a Hellenic Post event on Wednesday was seen by diplomatic sources as a clear indication of Beijing’s concern that the privatization of Piraeus Port Authority (OLP) could be about to enter another long period of delays after Cosco Pacific’s selection as the preferred bidder.
“The Chinese side hopes that the texts [of the agreement] will clear the Hellenic Court of Auditors and the Parliament as early as possible, for the most important project of cooperation between our two countries to proceed, fetching immediate benefits to the two peoples,” Ambassador Zou Xiaoli stated at the event held to launch a stamp issue for “2015 – Greece-China Maritime Cooperation Year.”
The statement was not unrelated to the opposition to OLP’s privatization openly expressed by cabinet members, Piraeus entities and unionists, nor to the effort by OLP governing board members to delay the implementation of the deal for the concession of a 67 percent stake, issuing decisions of debatable legal stature about a renegotiation of the concession agreement.
Still, Zou described the fact that Cosco was chosen in the OLP tender as “pleasant,” adding that this decision constitutes significant progress in China’s cooperation with Greece.