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Home arrow Current Affairs arrow Meetings - Events arrow Interventions of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Varvitsiotis and the Secretary General for International Economic Affairs, I. Smyrlis, at Virtual Event on the “EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (18 February 2021)

Interventions of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs M. Varvitsiotis and the Secretary General for International Economic Affairs, I. Smyrlis, at Virtual Event on the “EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (18 February 2021)

Friday, 19 February 2021

Interventions of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and the Secretary General for International Economic Affairs, Ioannis Smyrlis, at the Virtual Event on the “EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement - Notification of Greek enterprises of the main changes as of 1 January 2021” - main points (18 February 2021)

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis characterized the Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and the United Kingdom as being of unprecedented importance. He pointed out that this agreement, which was signed in December 2020, was achieved after four years of negotiations and is “a sui generis agreement with a former partner with whom we built a common life over the course of several decades and then decided to get divorced.” At the same time, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed, “we are trying to find how to facilitate the vital interests of both sides in the best possible way.”

The Alternate Minister highlighted that aspects such as the financial sector are still under negotiation, as concerns their future functioning, clarifying that “our relations are no longer competitive, and what we have to look at is how we can reach a win-win divorce and a win-win Brexit.” For Greece, in particular, he added, “it is very important that we continue this relationship.” This is why the Greek side prepared for every scenario – an orderly or disorderly Brexit, adding that “we want our post-Brexit relationship with Great Britain to be a multifaceted and even more highly developed relationship.”

The Secretary General for International Economic Affairs and President of Enterprise Greece, Ioannis Smyrlis, pointed to the new model of economic diplomacy, under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which, capitalizing on Greece’s network of missions abroad and directly activating both Enterprise Greece and the Export Credit Insurance Organization, has set as its primary goal the enhancement of Greek entrepreneurship’s openness through the planning and implementation of economic diplomacy actions in a number of target countries, including the United Kingdom.

Regarding Greece-UK bilateral economic relations, Mr. Smyrlis referred to the government’s will to further deepen these relations, especially in the agri-food sector, which is one of the most important sectors for trade transactions between the two countries. The government, Mr. Smyrlis added, also wants to improve the relations between the two states in other sectors, such as shipping, renewable energy sources, technology and technological research and innovation.

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