News article

Intensifying the links between Greece and the UK

This world location news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Foreign Secretary William Hague met Greek Foreign Minister Dimitrios Avramopoulos on Wednesday 5 June.

Following their meeting in London, the two men made statements:

Foreign Secretary William Hague:

Thank you very much and good afternoon. It has been a great pleasure this afternoon to have my friend and colleague and partner Dimitris Avramopoulos here today and warmly welcome him to London. He is determined, as I am determined, to intensify the links between Greece and the UK to make sure that we are working together on all of the regional and European issues that we face together.

So we had a good discussion today about the Middle East Peace Process and the importance we attach to that and [inaudible…] to the two state solution, to the terrible crisis in Syria and the need to come to a political solution there and assist in every way we can to address the humanitarian suffering in the region. We have discussed the enlargement of the European Union in the Western Balkans and the need for reform in Europe in a way that helps all of our economies to succeed and the excellent and strong historic relations between the UK and Greece that we are now determined to build on, I think, in a steadily improving atmosphere of cooperation and sharing ideas.

So I’m very grateful to Dimitris for being here today and thank him very much indeed for this discussion.

Foreign Minister Dimitrios Avramopoulos:

I very simply confirm what my good friend William said. But allow me add something also. As well as expressing thanks for this very, very warm welcome to the city of London because along with the fantastic weather –I must tell you I was surprised to see that sunshine is coming back to this great city- but [inaudible..] was more important was what we really did today.

A new beginning is [inaudible..] in our bilateral relations. As William said, Great Britain and Greece historically always shared excellent relations. We are the two edges of Europe but we work together within Europe, for the future of Europe. We talked about all these issues Mr Hague mentioned before and we are determined to play positive roles in solving all these problems in our region. We talked about the Middle East, we talked about Syria, we talked about the economic crisis in Europe and we have decided to work closer together in the future in order to contribute to all the effort to solve all these problems.

So a new chapter in our relations has been agreed. I invited William to visit us in Greece, to accompany the 2.5 million British that have decided to come to Greece this year and we believe, William, next year will be even more and, you know, in Greece they find a very hospitable and friendly environment and they enjoy our hospitality but at the same time we have extended our invitation to your businessmen, to your investors to be there. We have created a very friendly and hospitable environment for doing business in Greece.

The economic crisis has put us in the lead on great responsibilities, we are changing the country, we are changing everything and in this new beginning we want the British to be as close to us as always. So in this spirit of solidarity and friendship we have decided to work together and I want to express again my thanks and I look forward to seeing you in Athens soon.