The whole spectrum of bilateral relations, from the significant prospect of deepening economic and trade relations, investments, the great margins for upgrading the tourist traffic in 2022, the issue of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures and their reunification in Greece, to the Cyprus issue. and the resumption of Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, are expected to be set during the meeting, tomorrow Tuesday, of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson in London.
At a critical juncture, however, for the future of Euro-British relations, as a brawl between the European Commission and the British Government on a number of outstanding issues (such as the Brexit trade agreements and the Northern Ireland Protocol) is under way, Kyriakos Mitsotakis is the first European leader to visit London this week.
Emphasis on the financial-investment part
Government sources place special emphasis on the economic-investment part of the Greek Prime Minister’s visit to the British capital. According to them, Mr. Mitsotakis, during his contacts in London, is expected to underline the important prospect of further development of economic and trade relations. Special chapter of lively interest for Greece and tourism, with the expectations for the arrivals of British tourists in Greece in 2022 to be particularly high, provided, always, that the restrictions due to Covid-19 will be absent.
During his stay in London, Mr. Mitsotakis is expected to have contacts and meetings with important investors, representatives of the Confederation of British Industrialists, but also the very active Greek community in London in this field.
In fact, Mr. Mitsotakis made sure through the interview he gave a few days ago to British newspaper “The Telegraph”, to send a clear message about the dynamism of the Greek economy: “For me it is very important to change the image of Greece, it is no longer a country that is constantly facing budgetary difficulties. Greece should not only be a holiday destination, it should be a destination for investment.”
Return of the Parthenon Sculptures
Besides, the Greek Prime Minister is expected, as broadcast by news agency AMNA, to urgently raise the issue of the return of the Parthenon Sculptures and their reunification in Greece in the meeting he will have tomorrow with his British counterpart Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, as demonstrated by his intervention at the event for the 75 years since the founding of UNESCO at the headquarters of the Organization in Paris.
Specifically, Mr. Mitsotakis is going – according to government sources – to call on the British government to cooperate at the intergovernmental level for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures and their reunification in Greece. He emphasized to Johnson that the issue was a matter for the two governments, which he said should not cast a shadow over relations between the two countries. In the same context, he will encourage the British government to enter into a good faith dialogue with Greece for the return of the Sculptures and the reunification of the monument in its birthplace, Greece.
As Mr. Mitsotakis noted in his interview with the British “The Telegraph”, thatn an understanding could be reached with the British Museum for Greece to lend abroad cultural treasures, which have never been seen outside Greece.”
Government officials recall that last September, for the first time in its history, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Commission for the Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP) issued a decision on the return of the Parthenon Sculptures, highlighting its intergovernmental character. hence deconstructing the British argument that this is an issue between museums. The same committee also expressed its dissatisfaction with the fact that its resolution remained pending due to the attitude of the United Kingdom and in the same context called on the United Kingdom to reconsider its position and enter into a dialogue in good faith with Greece.
On Turkish provocations
In addition, during his meeting with the British Prime Minister, Mr. Mitsotakis is expected to fully inform him about the new phase of escalation of Turkish aggression in the Eastern Mediterranean, but also to point out that Greece as a stable actor will continue to vigorously and effectively defend its territorial sovereignty and sovereign rights. In the Cyprus issue, the Greek Prime Minister is expected to present before the British Prime Minister the highly unproductive stance of ‘Ankara and the pseudo-state’, which insist on a two state solution on Cyprus.
During his visit to the British capital, the Greek Prime Minister will speak on Tuesday night at the opening of the exhibition “Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom” at the Science Museum. In fact, Mitsotakis is expected to have meetings with important opinion makers, as well as appearances in widely acclaimed British media.
At the level of UK-EU relations, Mr Mitsotakis, who is expected to have contacts with senior European officials later in the day before arriving in the British capital, will point out to his British counterpart the need to overcome the difficulties in Euro – British relations in the background of Brexit.
Government sources point out that the Prime Minister will make it clear that Greece wants good relations with Great Britain, but on the issue of different approaches between the EU and Great Britain, he fully supports Brussels. Finally, he is expected to point out that the unity of the EU is not in question and that Greece remains in solidarity with its partners and Ireland.
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