Has Greek shipping minister Theodoros Dritsas gone rogue, moving against his government’s move to offer national infrastructure for privatisation in a bid to balance the nation’s debts?
The head of China Cosco Shipping flew into Athens 10 days ago to seal the privatisation of Piraeus port in a deal worth more than EUR350m, making it one of the most significant foreign direct investments into the Mediterranean nation ever.
However, Dritsas has thrown a spanner in the works with his determination to create an independent port authority at Piraeus which would have, what local newspaper Kathimerini described as “extensive control” over the port, going against the draft agreement inked with China Cosco Shipping.
“In practice, this is an attempt to annul the [port] privatisation process or undermine its operation,” a legal source told Kathimerini.
Dritsas has been vocal in his condemnation of the sale of Greece’s largest port, a deal that has sparked a number of strikes in Piraeus. A week ago Dritsas said the deal with China Cosco Shipping could still fall through. “The sale of the port is done in order to satisfy the lenders, not development purposes,” he said.