This afternoon the Prime Minister welcomed Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras of Greece to Downing Street for the first time. The Prime Minister noted that the friendship between the UK and Greece goes back centuries and is stronger today than it ever has been with millions of British citizens travelling to Greece every year. She thanked Prime Minister Tsipras for the warm welcome given to the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on their recent visit to Athens and Crete.
The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Tsipras on the progress made by the Greek economy and the important steps taken last week towards Greece’s exit from the economic adjustment programme in August. The leaders agreed that as the Greek economy continues to recover, there is potential for deeper business links in the energy, tourism, education and shipping sectors.
They discussed the issues that Greece faces with illegal migration and agreed that this is a shared challenge that requires a co-ordinated and comprehensive response including through the continued implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement. The Prime Minister said that the UK would continue to play its part in supporting a sustainable solution after we leave the EU. She said that the UK would send an additional Border Force cutter to the Aegean to carry out vital search and rescue operations.
The Prime Minister updated Prime Minister Tsipras on the continuing progress that the UK and EU have made on issues relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. They agreed that a deep and comprehensive future partnership on trade and security was in the interests of the UK, the EU and EU Member States including Greece.
They discussed regional issues and agreed on the importance of encouraging further steps towards a settlement in Cyprus. Prime Minister Tsipras welcomed the constructive role the UK had played in the talks so far as one of the guarantors. The Prime Minister also took the opportunity to welcome the historic agreement reached on the longstanding Name Issue with Greece’s Northern Neighbour and the benefits this will bring to regional stability.
The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Tsipras discussed relations between Turkey and Greece agreeing that continued dialogue was vital in ensuring regional stability.
Finally, the Prime Minister reiterated the need for the international community to uphold the rules based international system including by calling out and responding to malign activity by Russia.