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The smiling-faced, open-necked new prime minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras, backed an election winner in pledging to end austerity for a nation that is blighted by a chronic level of unemployment where almost a third of the working population are out of work. However, his new government’s immediate decision to halt the sale of a 67% stake in the port of Piraeus to suitors that included the Chinese state-owned COSCO Group, which already manages two of the ‘hub’ port’s cargo terminals, has left many scratching their heads, not least COSCO executives who had described Piraeus as the “Chinese gateway to Europe”. How Mr Tsipras and his cabinet propose to tackle he country’s €280bn debt and at the same time raise the minimum wage is the subject of much nervousness in the Eurozone; more so because the privatisation programme was a condition for bail-out funding from the EU and the IMF.


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