Interview: Greece will be strong link between China, EU in BRI: former Greek PM
20 May 2020


Greece will be a strong link between China and other European countries during the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou told Xinhua in a recent written interview here.


Greece maintains excellent bilateral relations with China, he said. The two countries have also cooperated closely under the BRI since its launch in 2013.


"The experiences of our productive cooperation can be very useful at a European level. I believe in a productive relationship between China and the EU (European Union)," he stated.


"The Belt and Road Initiative should be a joint project, and one that will redefine our relationships for the next century. It will be crucial that Europe and China work together in regions such as Africa, the Caucasus and the Middle East," where the BRI project is being implemented, Papandreou said.


"Greece will be a strong link between China and other European countries," he said.


Asked about the prospects of bilateral economic cooperation in the post-pandemic era, the former PM said that, among other things, Greece and China could join forces to offer the world new approaches to healthcare.


"As the Belt and Road project speaks of both common interests and common destinies, health seems to be the one issue that highlights these values. Access for all citizens without exceptions to the health systems of the countries participating in this comprehensive project would strengthen the Belt and Road and give it a deeper meaning," he argued.


"The pandemic also demonstrated that we need to adopt a very different model of development with respect to the environment," he added.


Consequently, the Belt and Road Initiative can encourage the adoption of this new model of green development that would go together with a new social contract by upgrading health, well-being, education and working conditions, the former Greek leader stressed.


"Greece and China have long-standing traditional forms of medicine, but also a deeper philosophy on well-being. These traditions link us together, and together we can offer new approaches to the world around health and well-being. This will be a fruitful collaboration that will contribute jointly to the greater good," he told Xinhua.


As two countries with ancient civilizations, Greece and China have also cooperated closely in recent years in the field of culture. Before the pandemic, the two countries had agreed that 2021 would be a year dedicated to Sino-Greek cooperation in culture and tourism.


"I believe that in the coming months the pandemic will be under control and we will be able to implement this plan," Papandreou said.


"We must not forget that our ancient cultural heritage can be a unique source of inspiration for addressing many of the existential problems brought up by the pandemic," he explained.


Source: Xinhua