China’s Xi Jinping embarks on visit to Greece for high-level talks

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Athens today to meet with his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos. The two are expected

xi jinping greece

PhotoL Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Athens today to meet with his Greek counterpart, Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

The two are expected to discuss a raft of energy and shipping agreements to boost the already substantial economic cooperation between their countries. Since 2008, China has agreed to almost $9 billion worth of infrastructure and business deals in Greece—equivalent to about 5% of Greek GDP.

Heightened Chinese investment in and bilateral cooperation between China and certain EU countries, such as Greece and Italy, has been met with resistance from European leaders. Brussels is wary that economic deals legitimise what it sees as China’s unfair business practices and ethical violations. Greece and Hungary—both recipients of large amounts of Chinese investments—have repeatedly pushed back on the EU’s stance on issues deemed sensitive to Beijing, including the South China Sea and China’s human rights violations.

While Chinese investment has been crucial in helping Greece rebound from its severe economic woes, Pavlopoulos risks isolating Greece in future trade deals if he proceeds with bilateral agreements against EU wishes. To prevent other member states from signing such deals, the EU now must solidify its own agreement with China, which could include an investment screening mechanism for Chinese business moves in Europe. However, such a deal remains far off.

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