– An Interview with Consul General of Greece in Shanghai Georgios Partheniou
China and Greece’s commercial ties started with the ancient Silk Road trade. Today, they have expanded into high technology, with great potential for cooperation in building smart, digital cities.
Shanghai, China’s financial hub, was included among the 10 best cases of smart city digital transformation because of its smart administrative system by Fira de Barcelona International, Barcelona’s trade fair institution, and the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
The announcement was made at the three-day Smart City Expo Shanghai 2023 that concluded in Shanghai on October 14. Fira de Barcelona International is one of the co-sponsors of the expo along with the Council for the Promotion of International Trade Shanghai and its organizers are the Shanghai Intex Exhibition and the Smart City Expo World Congress, based in Spain.
Greece’s expertise in the sector can be seen from the fact that six Greek cities -- Athens, Thessaloniki, Kalamata, Trikala, Ioannina and Kozani -- are among the 100 cities selected to participate in Cities Mission, the EU mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030.
Georgios Partheniou, Consul General of Greece in Shanghai, who attended the opening ceremony of the Smart City Expo Shanghai, talked to China Today about Greece’s plan to build smart cities and the cooperation with China in related fields.
Consul General of Greece in Shanghai Georgios Partheniou in an interview at the Smart City Expo Shanghai 2023 on October 12. Photo courtesy of Digital City+
China Today: What do you think of this year’s Smart City Expo Shanghai?
Georgios Partheniou: (It) has already left its mark. It entailed a set of high-impact initiatives aiming at bringing up best practices for efficient urban planning and management of cities by employing new emerging technological tools. This event of international impact brought up new facets of transformative progress regarding smart city strategies. Through participation of experts and officials from various countries, it hosted international knowledge exchange, and highlighted the pillars of smart sustainable city strategies. In a way, this conference substantiates the knowledge transfer and exchange process. It was an honour to attend this significant exhibition. On the second day of the event, Efthimios Bakogiannis, General Secretary of Spatial Planning and Urban Environment at the (Greek) Ministry of Environment and Energy, (gave a) video speech.
China Today: What do you think of Shanghai’s efforts and achievements in smart city building?
Georgios Partheniou: It is widely known that Shanghai is a world-class smart city. The deployment of 5G technology in Shanghai is crucial for creating an advanced digital urban transportation system. The 5G connectivity contributes to the efficient workflow of businesses, consumers, private and public organizations, and assists the public in accessing more information faster than ever before. The digital and spatial reshaping of the cities, along with green technologies and AI-based tools boosts the efficiency of various economic and social activities in Shanghai. Residents of Shanghai can experience this efficiency in everyday life (due to) smart digital infrastructure and smart mobility options.
China Today: What do you think of the prospect of China-Greece cooperation in the related fields of smart city building?
Georgios Partheniou: Six Greek cities are participating in the ambitious EU mission for 100 climate-neutral and smart cities by 2030, involving such domains as urban planning, transportation and energy. This selection constitutes clearly a commitment and a success for our country.
As regards smart city building, Greece and China have strong bonds in such specialized sectors as green technology, energy saving and digital transport within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. I am confident this will yield more concrete results in terms of smart cities cooperation.
A specific example is the Huawei data center virtualization project aiming at enhancing operational efficiency of Piraeus Port's new infrastructure (in Piraeus, Greece). And it is widely accepted that Piraeus Port is a global hub, an important gateway for international trade.