Exclusive interview of Mayor of Marathon Ilias Psinakis

IMG_2174The new Mayor of Marathon Mr Ilias Psinakis has only given one press conference from the moment he won the last regional election of May 2014. But when chinaandgreece approached him with an interview request on Sino-Greek relations, he immediately responded positively. This is indicative of the attention he pays to the improvement of Sino-Greek relations, and especially to the friendship between Marathon and Xiamen.

Why was the sister-city agreement between Marathon and Xiamen signed? What was your first thought when you were informed on this agreement?

Son of the legendary marathon winner Stelios Kyriakides, Mr Dimitris  Kyriakides and former Mayor Mr Zagaris had already informed me on the sister-city agreement between Marathon and Xiamen. What was highly significant and symbolic was the visit of former mayor of Xiamen and current Minister of China’s State Oceanic Administration Minister Mr Liu Cigui, in Marathon last July. This happened on the occasion of President’s Xi Jinping visit to Greece.

It the sister-city agreement something more for you than a simple document?

It is the birth certificate of a genuine friendship of two historical cities. It also confirms the survival and spread of values which are not affected by time, distance and cultural differences.

What can Marathon share with a Chinese city? Is goodwill sufficient or more funds will be required for your plans to be implemented?

Marathon has a long history. Besides the Battle of Marathon where barbarian expansionism was stopped, our municipality is also a synonym for the international race meaning endurance, commitment and maturity. This rich history along with the beautiful landscape, the coastline and the sights can attract not only marathon runners around the world but also tourists. From 2015 onwards, we plan to launch cultural and student exchanges as well as official visits of delegations.

Will co-operation between the cities be based only or culture or also economy? Will you focus on tourism? Will we see Chinese people in Marathon this summer?

Co-operation with Xiamen and China is multidimensional. Let us surprise you. Chinese people are coming throughout the year to Marathon as members of small groups. We hope to attract more visitors from China. This is our plan

What message would you like to send to your counterpart in Xiamen on the occasion of the upcoming Golden Marathon there? Are you already in contact with him?

We maintain a cordial contact with the leadership of Xiamen. They have already established the ‘Circle of Friendship Cities’ in which we participate. Mr Kyriakidis will be the official representative to represent Mayor Psinakis in the Xiamen Marathon.

Alexandra Tzavella