Foreign Ministry panel is to probe impact of Brexit

6 August 2016
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The Foreign Ministry is setting up a working group that will be tasked with assessing the impact of June’s decision by Britons to leave the European Union on the Greek economy and on Greeks living in Britain.

According to the decision by Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, the committee will comprise ministry officials, diplomats and academics who will not be paid for their participation.

Their job will be to record and gauge the stances of all EU member-states as regards Brexit and to determine likely repercussions on Greece and ways of minimizing their impact.

Committee members will also examine the anticipated consequences of Brexit on certain economic sectors in Greece, notably on tourism, virtually the only dynamic part of the Greek economy, in view of the slide of the British pound.

There are concerns in Athens too about the impact on the size of the EU budget – and subsequently the size of subsidies given to member-states – as Britain’s contribution is significant, amounting to 11.5 billion euros in 2014, the most recent year for which final statistics are available.

The committee is expected to get to work after the August 15 Dormition of the Virgin public holiday. Overall government work will be suspended for the most part next week as ministers and MPs take a break ahead of the next phase of negotiations with international creditors which are expected to focus on labor relations and on how to tackle billions of euros in nonperforming loans, including mortgages, that continue to burden Greek banks.

Some high-level diplomatic activity is expected in the coming weeks, however. Tsipras is to explore the prospects for an alliance of Southern European countries backing Greece’s debt relief demands at a summit of socialist heads of state scheduled to take place in Paris on August 25.

The Greek premier’s aim, according to sources, is to arrange a subsequent meeting in Athens, probably on September 9, to further explore the prospect of forming a Southeastern European alliance.

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