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Address of Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis at the Workshop on No Deal Brexit
Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis today addressed the workshop on “No Deal Brexit: Preparation of Public Administration and Businesses in case of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU without an agreement,” highlighting the need for preparation in order to fortify Greece and maximise any benefits following the Brexit.
More specifically, Mr. Varvitsiotis stressed that the withdrawal of the United Kingdom – a global power that represents 13% of Europe’s population and 16% of European GDP – from the European Union is in and of itself an unpleasant development and a great loss, all the more so if the United Kingdom leaves the Union without an agreement.
Mr. Varvitsiotis noted that “whatever we do, however much we prepare on a bureaucratic level, Brexit will have a cost. The objective is to minimise the repercussions for the national economy as much as possible and inform Greek importers, exporters, businesses, Greeks who live in Great Britain and British citizens who live in Greece.” He clarified that, beyond the extension of the measures that will be ensured by the passing of legislation in Parliament in the coming weeks, Greece’s strategic goal on the day after the Brexit is still to improve our cooperation with the United Kingdom, so that, after the Brexit, we have even better relations than we had before, for strategic, historical and economic reasons.
For this reason he underscored the need to safeguard the rights of the 115,000 Greece residing in the UK – who are encouraged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to register with the British government’s settlement scheme – and the 50,000 British citizens living in Greece. Similarly, the Alternate Minister reiterated the need for multi-level preparation of Public Administration, as Great Britain is one of Greece’s main trading partners and tourism markets, with 2.5 million British tourists visiting our country every year.
Having described the problems expected to arise with regard to the free circulation of goods and services – which must be dealt with according to the principle of conditionality – the protection of PDO products, and special tariffs on exported agricultural products, he presented the actions the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken to date to deal with these issues. He made special mention of the implementation of the 128 items on the Greek government's action plan for handling a no-deal Brexit, the Brexit-related legislation coming before Parliament soon, the initiation of procedures for formulating bilateral agreements on education, culture, trade and shipping, and the operation of the brexit.gov.gr website as a key tool for informing the public and keeping in touch with business and social organizations to identify and solve any problems that arise.
Concluding, Mr. Varvitsiotis assured those in attendance that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always at the disposal of Greek citizens and businesses, “so that we can move forward together, defending the interests of Greek products and fortifying the Greek economy.”