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Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Konstantinos Fragogiannis meet with business and social organizations on Brexit (Athens, 4 September
The Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, chaired a meeting today, Wednesday 4 September, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with representatives of business and professional organizations and social partners. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Diplomacy and Openness, Konstantinos Fragogiannis, the Secretary General for International Economic Relations and Openness, Grigoris Dimitriadis, IAPR Governor Giorgos Pitsilis and public service officials also attended the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to continue the dialogue initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as coordinator of the actions of individual ministries, ahead of the Brexit and to give involved agencies the opportunity to raise questions and submit proposals for more effective management of a Brexit with or without a deal. As the Alternate Minister stated, “Greece’s strategic objective is to upgrade bilateral relations with the UK following a Brexit, whether or not it is a no-deal Brexit.”
More specifically, Mr. Varvitsiotis, having set out the repercussions of the Brexit on a European and bilateral level, highlighted Greece’s readiness to respond successfully to the new conditions, thanks to the comprehensive strategic plan drawn up by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the involved organizations.
Following the meeting, Mr. Varvitsiotis made the following statement: “Regardless of the political developments in Great Britain, Greece needs to prepare for a disorderly Brexit. This means that we have to be in constant contact with all of the market organizations so that we can answer all of their questions and prepare the Greek state mechanism as well as possible for the eventuality of the UK’s leaving the EU on 31 October without a deal that regulates EU-UK trade relations, movement of goods, movement of citizens, or educational, medical or any other exchanges that have to take place. We are working hard in this direction with all of the market organizations so that we can be one of the countries that ensures that the day after Brexit will not be a worse day in bilateral relations, but that we will maintain relations at least at their current level. It was clear from the meeting that we have catalogued and looked at all of the issues that require our preparation so far. This shows that good work has been done so far. But this doesn’t mean we can rule out the possibility that issues will arise that we haven’t thought of yet, with regard to how our relations with Great Britain will function following the Brexit.”
Regarding the current political situation in Great Britain, the Alternate Minister stated: “We are following the developments with concern. I would like to stress one thing. We see Brexit as an unfortunate development. An unfortunate development for Europe and Greece, but also – we believe – for Great Britain.”
Mr. Fragogiannis stated: “Today, at the Foreign Ministry, we brought together all of the organizations that represent the members of the business community, who will be impacted by the Brexit whether or not it is a no-deal Brexit. We at the Foreign Ministry, as a unit of the country’s economic diplomacy, are fully prepared for both eventualities.” The Deputy Minister said the Foreign Ministry asked the organizations to submit their views and assessments, stressing that the Ministry will cooperate with them “to give them the support they need to deal with any issue that might arise.”
Representatives of the following organizations attended the meeting: The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), the Economic and Social Council of Greece (OKE), The Panhellenic Exporters Association, the Economic Chamber of Greece (OEE), the Federation of Attica and Piraeus Industries (SVAP), the Greek Exporters Association, the Union of Greek Shipowners, the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), The Union of Hellenic Chambers, the Federation of Industries of Greece (SBE), The Hellenic Confederation of Professionals, Craftsmen & Merchants (GSEVEE), and the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE).