Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias met with his British counterpart Boris Johnson in Athens and later gave a joint press conference where they reaffirmed the strength of the bilateral relationship between Greece and the United Kingdom.
Kotzias confirmed that during the meeting with Johnson he raised issues that could affect Greeks in the UK following the Brexit such as avoiding negative financial implications from Brexit, safeguarding Greek workers and students' rights in the UK as well as those of Britons living in Greece (around 45,000), avoiding the negative impact on our trade in goods and services, and of course tourism, as Greece welcomes annually a very large number of British nationals.
"We respect the decision of the British people and we want to form the best possible deal between the EU and the UK which will serve both sides with friendship, not vindictiveness,” he said. "We want Britain’s exit from the EU to be orderly and with a plan, in a way that the UK will remain as close as possible to the EU and with the best possible relations with other countries such as Greece. We want to minimize the losses from Britain’s departure and maximize our opportunities,” Kotzias said.
On his part Johnson was quick to clarify that the UK may be ‘’leaving the European Union but we are not leaving Europe’. Our friendship with Europe concerns our friendship with Greece and we discussed the prospect of developing that relation.” The British Foreign Secretary expressed his gratitude for the views presented by Kotzias on the negotiations with the EU saying the two sides can reach an agreement that would be mutually beneficial.
He said it’s very fortunate for his country that there are many Greek citizens working and studying in the UK and thus contributing to the economy and society. “For all our citizens, Greeks and British, we want to reach an agreement that would be mutually beneficial, a good deal,” added Johnson.
On Cyprus, he said they discussed the importance of finding equitable and intelligent solutions and reiterated Greece’s position against guarantee rights by third countries and armies on the island.