1st Annual Review of Greece – UK Strategic Bilateral Framework (06.12.2022)

Meeting between Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiadis Varvitsiotis, and UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Europe, Leo Docherty, regarding the first annual review of the Greece – UK Strategic Bilateral Framework (Athens, 06.12.2022).

The document’s text is as follows:

“Greek Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiades Varvitsiotis, and the UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Europe, Leo Docherty, met on 6 December 2022 to carry out the first annual review of the Greece – UK Strategic Bilateral Framework (SBF). The two Ministers discussed progress under the various SBF pillars which helped to strengthen further UK-Greece bilateral cooperation in support of our shared objectives and in addressing common concerns. The Ministers also identified future initiatives to build on our close and historic ties to work ever closer in the pursuit of new opportunities and tackle global challenges.

Foreign and regional policy

The Ministers recalled the breadth of our shared foreign policy objectives and our cooperation in bilateral and multilateral fora over the last twelve months. The UK and Greece, together with our other partners and allies, have stood in solidarity with Ukraine and the international community in condemning Russian aggression. There has also been a regular exchange of views on a broad range of issues such as the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean, including the Cyprus issue, as well as developments in the Western Balkans and the Middle East. The UK and Greece agree that the security and stability of the wider region, on the basis of full respect of International Law and the fundamental principles of the UN Charter, is a key common objective and committed to continue engaging pro-actively with our partners towards this aim. The ministers re-affirmed their desire to further deepen our foreign policy cooperation and committed to holding a series of strategic dialogues on priority foreign policy areas over the coming year.

Bilateral defence cooperation

As well as ongoing high level defence engagement in multilateral fora over the last year, UK-Greece Defence cooperation has focussed on training, education and interoperability, particularly across Single Service domains. For the coming year, the UK and Greece agreed to continue this cooperation and seek an opportunity for the Ministerial signing of a Joint Vision Statement for a stronger bilateral defence and security partnership; as well as committing to sustained interoperability and work to support and enhance our mutual defence capability.

Trade and investment, and Healthcare

The Ministers committed to supporting further efforts to promote trade and investment opportunities between the UK and Greece, with a particular focus on priority sectors including clean energy, life sciences, healthcare, real-estate, agri-food industry, technology and digital, defence, and transnational education.

Digitilisation

The Ministers also noted the intention to explore opportunities for sharing best practice and expertise in the field of government digitalisation.

Tourism

The Ministers welcomed this year’s outstanding visitor numbers – the number of UK tourists travelling to Greece this year was the highest ever – and agreed to explore opportunities for further enhancing tourism cooperation and expertise sharing, particularly around diversification and sustainability. The Ministers also committed to working together in response to the practical changes related to the introduction of the new EU Entry and Exit scheme and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System and the upcoming UK equivalent.

Maritime Affairs

In recognition of both countries’ priorities, as historic maritime nations, the Ministers welcomed progress made so far on operational issues, including for UK-flagged yachts and the mutual recognition of seafarers certificates in accordance with IMO/STCW Convention. They agreed that the UK and Greece will continue to engage and seek opportunities to further develop cooperation in this field, including promoting green shipping and supporting UK/Greek companies in the maritime sector.

Education, research, innovation and culture

The Ministers agreed to further develop opportunities, within the framework of the Bilateral Cultural Convention signed in 1951 and through the UK-Greece Strategic Partnership in Education – established in 2021 to promote international partnerships between UK and Greek Higher Education Institutions, to support student mobility and research collaboration. Work will continue to encourage more institutional partnerships; promote closer collaboration in research and innovation; facilitate further student and teachers’ mobility opportunities.

Law Enforcement

The Ministers noted the excellent level of existing bilateral law enforcement cooperation, including working together to tackle Serious Organised Crime, CT capacity building, strong judicial cooperation, and countering Gender Based Violence. The Ministers noted the potential to further expand this cooperation through smoother exchange of intelligence, and by tackling the illicit finance which underpins serious criminal activity.

Migration

The Ministers noted the regular Home Office and Migration Ministry engagement and dialogue on migration issues, exchanges of best practice, and operational cooperation in managing illegal migration and against organised immigration crime in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Ministers noted the commitment to continue both operational cooperation and the exchange of best practice, including maintaining a regular UK-Greece Strategic Migration Dialogue.

Climate change and environmental issues

In recognition of both Greek and UK shared priorities around climate change, including on commitments made at COP27. The Ministers agreed to support continued collaboration and engagement, with a particular focus on the renewables and clean energy sector, green shipping, exploring opportunities for Greek firms to access UK green finance, and strengthening sustainability cooperation between our cultural institutions”.

Athens, 6 December 2022

Miltiadis Varvitsiotis

Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic

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