At the Thessaloniki International Fair, Greece looks to Russia for an economic boost

Puns in the title of this article aside, an interesting divergence in the European Union force started taking place over the weekend as all of a sudden, Greece is looking towards Russia to partner with them on several large industrial deals.

Beginning with talks to latch onto the Turk-Stream pipeline and become the nexus point for oil and natural gas to enter into Europe through the South corridor, to negotiations with Russia on helping them with mining and transportation projects, it appears that the continuing failure of the EU to fix ongoing economic, political, and financial problems is forcing the Greeks to look elsewhere for aid in boosting their economy after nearly eight years of austerity.

Greece's Prime Minister closely watching Russia-Turkey talks on gas pipeline as they seek to be the Southern point of entry into Europe for the Turk-Stream pipeline

This weekend saw numerous Mediterranean and Eurasian trade partners meet at the Thessaloniki International Fair.  And during the sessions Greece watched closely the ongoing discussions between Russia and Turkey on when they might finalize the Turk-Stream pipeline, and how they could sign on as its port of entry into Europe.

Athens is closely watching Russia-Turkey talks on a pipeline that will bring Russian gas to the Turkish border with Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Sunday.

”We are closely watching negotiations and on-again, off-again relations between Russia and Turkey. We are glad to see those ties mended,” Tsipras told reporters at the international fair in Thessaloniki. The talks between Russia’s Gazprom and Ankara on a plan to build the Turkish Stream pipeline across the Black Sea were revived last month. Meanwhile, Greece is preparing to make a case for another gas link to Russia before the European Commission in September.
— Sputnik News

But here is where it gets interesting, because as part of the EU, any international trade agreements quite often must go through Brussels, and this is where Greece may find themselves at a roadblock.

Greece hopes to begin talks with the European Commission next week on the construction of the South European Pipeline that would deliver Russian gas to Europe, Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis said Sunday.

He has recently confirmed that the Greek government was interested in the project, but the EU decision-making body would have the final say.

So with this in mind, we know from the past that the EC and the Troika have little love for Greece, and will often side against them to ensure they remain a vassal state of the Union.  Yet following the UK's decision to leave the EU back in June, the notion of the Greeks also choosing to leave the European Union should Brussels make their lives a living hell over the opportunity for a trade deal could becomes a very real scenario, especially as some financial analysts predict that the Euro currency may be on the precipice of destruction.

Greece has offered Russia to set up a joint venture to extract natural resources

Reliance on being a part of the Turk-Stream pipeline was not the only negotiations taking place between Greece and Russia over the weekend.  And one of the biggest may involve talks concerning Russia becoming partners with them in helping to develop some of Greece's mining assets.

Dvorkovich said Russian gas producer Gazprom had been negotiating with Greek firms, including the Poseidon company, with which it shares a long history of cooperation.

”There have been projects offered by our Greek colleagues, such as a joint venture on extracting natural resources in the Greek territory,” Dvorkovich told reporters during his visit to Greece.
— Sputnik News

Greece is not known as one of the largest mining countries in the EU, but they do have significant Zinc reserves that are second only to the United States, and are suddenly finding themselves in short supply on the global markets.  And having a capable producer as well as distributor like Russia on board could significantly shift Greece position in the global commodities market.

Lastly, Greece is desperately trying to rebuild its tourism industry, and with little revenue available to work on current and new infrastructures, PM Tsipras may look towards Moscow to help in building their badly needed transportation facilities.

“We are not just showing interest as I told the prime minister (Alexis Tsipras) today, we are seriously considering each project with detailed calculations… We will consider next projects very seriously. That applies both to railway infrastructure and airport infrastructure that is directly linked to tourism opportunities, tourist business. That will be very interesting for our investors,” Dvorkovich said.
— Sputnik News

It is a sad thing when Greece has a continent full of labor and industrial know-how in their backyard, but little trust in being able to get through the red tape of a bureaucracy that would rather pillage Greek assets rather than helping the government grow them to work towards economic prosperity.  But that is the major difference today between the mindsets of the West and of the East, where one still lives in the era of colonialism and the other in the concept of partnership.