Brexit Repercussions Costly to Greece

Britain’s departure from the European Union has direct and indirect repercussions on Greece, with the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) issuing a statement calling on EU to negotiate a deal that would ensure effective access of Greek products in the British market.

Britain ranks 7th in Greece’s export destinations. Greek exports to the United Kingdom amount to over 1 billion euros annually.

According to SEV, Greece exports to Britain 350 million euros in industrial products, 200 million euros in chemical products, 350 million euros in food products and about 100 million euros in other products.

The Federation asks from the EU to maintain current market and trade practices, safeguard, as much as possible, closer economic relations between the EU and Britain, organizing a smooth transition to a future trade agreement.

Equally important will be the impact on tourism. Greece should expect a decrease in tourist arrivals as the depreciation of the sterling against the euro will reduce the purchasing power of the British and limit their travel options. It is estimated that currently over two million British tourists arrive in Greece each year.

At the same time, there are concerns about the 60,000 Greeks who live and work in Britain. Deputy Prime Minister Yiannis Dragasakis met with the British Ambassador to Athens, Kate Smith, on March 15 to discuss the issue, namely, the legal framework in regards to the residence status of Greeks in Britain.

The British government seems to insist on changing migration laws and that would affect privileges enjoyed by foreign workers in the UK, which means that Greek employees in the UK may find themselves facing very strict bureaucratic procedures, limited access to welfare benefits and less favorable working conditions than the British. As for Greek students in British universities, they are likely to face hikes of up to 40 percent in tuition.