Questa breve newsletter del CSIS traccia un quadro sintetico degli obiettivi politici ed economici che la Cina persegue in Europa Sud-Orientale, in Grecia ed in Serbia soprattutto. Dal finanziamento ai programmi di sviluppo infrastrutturali agli investimenti nel settore delle energie pulite.
Secondo Loic Poulain, ad esempio, per la Cina la Grecia costituisce la porta d'accesso delle proprie merci verso i mercati europei, il terminale di una moderna "Via della Seta" che Pechino mira a ristrutturare al fine di trasportare più velocemente e con meno costi, oltre che con minori pericoli, i propri prodotti in Europa.
"To increase commercial exchanges with Southeastern Europe, China has made considerable investments in Greece. Since the onset of the country’s debt crisis, Bei-jing has been playing a proactive role by supporting the purchase of Greek bonds, announcing plans to double its annual trade with Athens to USD 8 billion by 2015, and setting-up a special Greek-Chinese shipping develop-ment fund of USD 5 billion.
More strategically, at the height of the financial crisis, in November 2008, Chinese President Hu Jintao signed a EUR 3.4 billion agreement to allow the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) to upgrade and run part of the country’s chief port in Piraeus. (…)
Furthermore, COSCO is bidding to operate the port of Thessaloniki, linked by rail to the rest of the Balkan Pen-insula into Central Europe. The Chinese government is also vying to buy shares of the struggling state-owned Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE), scheduled to go up for privatization in the years to come as part of the massive Greek deficit-reduction plan. Such a move would allow the rapid delivery of Chinese products transiting through Greece.
This planned Chinese takeover of maritime and rail as-sets intends to transform Greece into a Southern rival for Northern Europe’s Rotterdam. Indeed, the country’s stra-tegic position makes it easier for container ships trans-porting Chinese goods to travel from East Asia to Europe via the Suez Canal. It also provides an ideal base to reach emerging markets in the Mediterranean Basin and the Black Sea region. In other words, Beijing sees Greece as a modern gateway linking Chinese factories with consumers across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.(…)
By investing in the region’s infrastructure projects, Beijing wants to accelerate the creation of a network of ports, logistics centers, and railways to distribute Chinese prod-ucts and hasten the speed of East-West trade. Indeed, the great commercial integration of Europe and China reveals the incredible potential of a transcontinental trade route linking both markets. Beijing is therefore attempting to resurrect the ancient Silk Road to improve transport and trade through the Eurasian landmass. This new route, complementing a “Silk Track” railway, would run from Western China through Central Asia, Iran, Turkey, and across the Bosporus onto the Balkan Peninsula to boost connections with Europe and the Middle East. Bei-jing’s grand plan would offer a major shortcut to the tradi-tional sea trade routes from the Chinese ports of Shang-hai and Guangzhou, in effect cutting travel time to Euro-pean markets from an average 36 days by container ship to only a dozen days by freight train, while providing a cheaper (USD 111 against USD 167 per ton) and safer alternative to the piracy-ridden Gulf of Aden."
E' appena il caso di sottolineare che tali strategie cinesi hanno un impatto sugli interessi del nostro Paese se è vero, come afferma il ricercatore del CSIS, che la scelta di puntare sulla Grecia è speculare alla scelta di abbandonare, gradualmente, i porti di Istanbul e Napoli.