Greek PM: Greece a strategic partner at BRF

Greek PM: Greece a strategic partner at BRF

In his second placement to the round table of the “One belt one road forum”, Alexis Tsipras highlighted the strategic importance of Greece in an environment of serious, common economic challenges and geopolitical risks, in which collective, multilateral policy responses are becoming more and more necessary.

The Greek PM argued that the Belt and Road Initiative presents a new vision of how to respond to these challenges, as it creates a unique platform that combines the models of the industrial and internet ages.

Alexis Tsipras highlighted the importance of vision, design and technology in order to achieve revolutionary changes and economic development. “In our age this means enhancing connectivity by developing infrastructure, namely, modern, efficient systems, networks and synergies in transport, energy, trade, telecommunications, culture and tourism”, the Prime Minister pointed out.

The PM also emphasized the role of Greece as a global leader in the maritime and tourism fields, as well as its strategic position at the crossroads of three continents, and its goal of becoming a crucial regional hub in transport, energy, trade, telecommunications, culture and tourism, in its bid to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth.

“As we move ahead in this direction, we discover that our vision is not just compatible with the Belt and Road Initiative, but it is becoming interconnected with it”, Alexis Tsipras stressed.

The Greek premier highlighted three areas of strategic development for Greece:

Transport and infrastructure development: The port of Piraeus is a vital element of the Initiative as it already serves as a major connector between Asia, Europe and Africa and is well placed to be the most important container terminal in the Mediterranean. The prospects are very promising for new high speed railway lines from Piraeus and Thessaloniki to Central and Eastern Europe, or joining Turkey to the Adriatic.

Furthermore, Greece is at the core of the planned China – Europe Land Sea Express Route and the multimodal EU TEN-T Core Network Orient/East-Med Corridor.

The establishment of industrial, assembly and logistics clusters along this corridor, will further enhance the efficiency of the Silk Road Economic Belt. Furthermore, developing Research and Development centers and software outsourcing facilities in Greece, could serve the entire value chain of the Belt and Road Initiative. At the same time, a ship-repair hub in the eastern Mediterranean, comprising of existing Greek shipyards, would further support the activities of the Maritime Silk Road.

Energy: The construction of the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, which was inaugurated last May, will enable the delivery of Azeri natural gas to European markets and consumers, also through the Vertical Corridor.

At the same time, we are discussing the development of new pathways to transport natural gas from the Eastern Mediterranean, Russia and the Middle East, including through our LNG facilities in Revithoussa or the construction of a floating gas terminal in Alexandroupolis.

In the electricity market, Greece attaches great importance to the interconnection, by submarine cable, of Israel, Cyprus, Crete and Attica, via the EuroAsia Interconnector, thus creating a solid connection between the isolated energy markets of Israel and Cyprus with the EU market. And we believe strongly that there is an important role for China to play in this project.

Telecommunications: we are moving rapidly towards new investments in fibre optics such as yesterday’s agreement between Forthnet and ZTE”.

“To come back to my first point, it is clear to us that The Belt and Road Initiative – developing on the basis of an international rules-based, transparent framework – does not only project a new vision of inter-dependent development, through enhancing connectivity and infrastructure projects; It creates a new platform of cooperation and dialogue”, the PM argued.

In his closing statements Alexis Tsipras expressed the need for the “One Belt one road forum” to be held again and perhaps even be organized regularly (maybe once a year)./IBNA