Greece: China’s Gateway to the West

ElyaDatabase ID Number: M025

Creator: Charles Gould ’21 History & Environmental Science

In 2008, the so-called “Great Recession” swept across the world, emanating from the United States. In the European Union, no country suffered for longer than Greece, which experienced 90 months of negative economic growth between 2007 and 2017. As western investment dried up, China jumped in to fill the void. The partially-state owned shipping giant COSCO leased three piers for €831.2m in 2008 from the Greek port of Piraeus, and purchased 51% of the port in 2018. By 2021, 67% of the port will be Chinese-owned. Piraeus is Europe’s 5th-largest and easternmost major port, and China hopes to transform it into the “Head of the Dragon,” the mouth by which Chinese goods enter Europe. The only obstacle standing in its path is the lack of good railway infrastructure in the Balkans. China seeks to challenge the EU as the primary builder of railways in the region, but it will have to overcome many hurdles, including bureaucratic regulations, unwelcoming locals, and the continued instability of Greece’s political environment. Can they successfully connect Piraeus to the rest of Europe to receive their return on investment, or will this project crumble due to mismanagement and Greek insolvency?

Cite This Work :

Charles Gould, “Greece: China's Gateway to the West.” Scale: 1:70,000. In Elya J. Zhang, ed., Mapping History Series. <> (accessed May 27, 2022).

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