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Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis meets with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Kate Smith (Athens, 30 July 2019)
The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, today received the Ambassador of the United Kingdom, Kate Smith, to discuss issues related to the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU and other, broader issues of bilateral interest.
During the talks, special emphasis was put on the need to fully safeguard the rights of the citizens of both countries, and practical solutions were considered for dealing with all of the potential problems that might arise in the worst-case scenario of a “no-deal” Brexit.
In this context, the Alternate Minister stressed that the new Greek government is prioritising the timely completion of preparations for dealing with Brexit, even if there is no deal. In the same spirit, he noted that Greece looks forward to the British government’s resolving issues of special interest to our country in good time, including protection of geographical indications of Greek products in the United Kingdom and the need to keep university tuition for Greek students at the current levels and ensure the smooth functioning of Greek educational institutions in the UK.
The Alternate Minister expressed his concern over the possible imposition of tariffs on Greek products, such as feta, in the case of a disorderly Brexit. On this subject, the British Ambassador categorically denied the reports in an article in today’s Greek press regarding tariffs on Greek feta in the UK following Brexit, and she made assurances that protection of geographical indications will be regulated on an integrated level with all of the EU member states.
Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that the shared objective of Greece and the United Kingdom must be to maintain and strengthen bilateral relations, regardless of the course taken by Brexit, on matters of foreign policy and security, as well as on matters of trade, tourism, migration, shipping and culture.
In this context, they discussed the feasibility of signing relevant memoranda of cooperation on issues of migration, shipping and culture. Moreover, they underscored the need to conclude a new bilateral Educational Agreement that will cover all of the issues that might arise from the UK’s exit from the EU.
Finally, the two sides agreed to continue the close cooperation between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Embassy in Athens in order to achieve the optimum result in the framework of the Brexit.