In the latest privatization move of Greece, the Greek Private Asset Utilization Fund (HRADF) has announced four entities expressing an interest in the acquisition of a majority stake of at least 67% of the Alexandroupolis Port Authority. The news comes at a time when Greeks are apprehensive about the economic and health outcome of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. And waiting in the wings are privateers who make legendary pirates seem tame.
First, the news. According to a report from ANA, the following tenders were announced by HRADF:
- A consortium made up of the Cameron SA-Goldair Cargo SA-Bollore Africa Logistics
- Consortium International Port Investments Alexandroupolis, composed of the companies Black Summit Financial Group- Euroports-EFA Group and GEK TERNA.
- Quintana Infrastructure & Development
- And Thessaloniki Port Authority
Many concerns surround Greek privatization in general, but the Alexandroupolis Port bears taking a closer look at. Greek City Times published a report recently revealing the strategic value of this port, and failing public confidence in NATO. As it turns out, a new defense agreement between Athens and Washington was signed back in October 2019. The agreement gave the US use of Greece’s seaport infrastructure, including the Alexandroupolis Port.
Skeptics of the privatization move point out that a NATO base in suck close proximity to Bulgaria and Turkey, would put pressure on Russia, which would in turn create policy problems for Greek-Russia relations. The recent Greece-Turkey friction is now the catalyst for Athens leadership making deals with The U.S. which will benefit Greeks very little. The recent visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should be viewed in a realistic perspective.
Look out Greece, the U.S. siding with Greece in this most recent crisis will end up being a very costly negotiation for the Greek people. At least this is the view of some experts in geopolicy. Unfortunately, many Greeks are bowing down to the most recent sellout. A headline from Greek Reporter reads “Pompeo’s Visit to Greece Will Mark the “Strongest Relationship in Decades”, but there is little mention of what’s in the relationship for America.
NATO and strategic concerns aside, there is no win for Greeks in selling off the biggest pieces of profitability in the country. Greece’s most valuable assets are a transfer of profit from Greek coffers into the fund manager’s hands. How does selling off the profit mechanism for this port to outsiders help Greeks? We needn’t investigate here the key figures and those standing behind these Greek privatization efforts.
One look, however, shows linkages between the U.S. government and investing executives involved in this port tender. As for one of the bidders, Quintana (QIM) owned by the Corbin J. Robertson, Jr. (the grandson of Texas oil legend Texas oil magnate Hugh Roy Cullen) family, which also owns Quintana Minerals Corporation. Robertson controls the second-largest coal reserves in the United States, right behind the U.S. government. I mention this so that readers can anticipate exactly who is going to win in this Greek privatization scheme.
NATO and Texas billionaires. Greek ports. And transferring revenue and potential outside Greece. My question is, “Why can’t Alexandroupolis Port be invested in and run by Greeks?” At a moment when Greece’s tourism industry is all but destroyed, as officials try to balance COVID deaths and national debt, HRADF is auctioning off the future of every Greek.
How does this connect with travel, tourism, and hospitality? Well, pretty soon the “Greece experience” will resemble more an oil slick at the entrance to Galveston Bay than a crystal aquamarine paradise off Mykonos.
Look out for American’s bearing gifts.