Can China Save Greece?
Trade and cultural relations between the two ancient nations are increasing as one seeks to emerge from years of economic crisis while the other continues to stretch its new economic muscle.
What's the Latest Development?
Due to several key investments, such as the building and operating of a terminal in the Greek shipping port of Piraeus, China is slowly making economic inroads in one of the European countries that arguably needs the cash. A trade delegation to Beijing earlier this year was led by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and a Chinese man has become the first to take advantage of a new program that offers Greek residency status in exchange for purchasing a certain amount of real estate. Also, the number of Chinese who came directly to Greece as tourists has jumped 25 percent from 2011.
What's the Big Idea?
Greece's original goal of raising €50 billion in investments by 2015 has been scaled back to €11 billion due to schedule delays. Since Western countries haven't demonstrated much of a willingness to help, the way is open for China and other growing economies to gain more of an economic foothold in Europe through Greece. The communication isn't entirely one-way, either: At one of the largest language schools in Athens, Chinese is now the second-most-popular offering. Says student Efi Belsi, "Greeks are shifting more towards the east...People want a better future so they are looking towards China."
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