Greece is unlikely to suffer significant losses amid Brexit but could instead benefit from shipping and service companies looking for alternative post-Brexit locations, Vassilios Korkidis, the president of the Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE), told Russia’s Sputnik.
The Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union officially started on June 19, and are due to be completed by March 30, 2019.
“I don’t think that the consequences of Brexit are very serious for Greece. They are only for the Greek students who are in the United Kingdom and will have to pay very high fees for the universities. On the other side, I think that we will have some benefits. For example, in the city of London, there are a lot of shipping companies based there and a lot of services. Some of them want to be in the European Union. So they will try to find other centers in order to operate,” Korkidis said.
According to Korkidis, Greece has high chances to compete with Germany’s Port of Hamburg and attract a lot of services because of its strong shipping industry.
“Certainly Hamburg wants to take part of them, but Greece has a big potential because we have quite strong ship owners, so a lot of services will come as well. From this point of view I don’t think that we have something to loose, but maybe to benefit,” he added.
On January 17, UK Prime Minister Theresa May presented 12-point Brexit plan, implying an exit from the EU single market and the customs union. May stated that the United Kingdom would focus on signing bilateral trade deals to avoid negative economic implications.
Korkidis also noted that Russian companies could take part in the renovation of Greece’s Mediterranean fleet for which Greek ship owners expect to receive 1.5 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for the European Union.
Russian ships designed for the transportation and storage of natural gas can be used for gas delivery to Greece and the wider Mediterranean region, he added.
“A project of small vessels that can be used for transporting natural gas, and also to be warehouses as well, is very good for the Greek islands because they don’t have a network of natural gas. So a project with Russian vessels can be applicable in the Mediterranean,” Korkidis said.
The major natural gas reservoirs discovered off the Mediterranean shores in recent years have made the region a focus of international interest. In April, Greece, Cyprus and Israel agreed on the East Mediterranean pipeline project (EastMed) to carry natural gas from Israel and Cyprus to Greece with further transition to Italy and other Southeast European countries.
EastMed is expected to become one of the longest pipelines in the world with a length of some 2,000 kilometers and costing over $6 billion. It is expected to be completed in 2025.