Alogoskoufis G. (2016), “Greece and the upcoming Brexit negotiations” in Wyplosz C. (ed), What to Do with the UK: EU Perspectives on Brexit , (A VoxEu.org Book), CEPR Press, London.
For a number of years after 2010, most commentators believed that Greece would be the first country to leave the Eurozone, and possibly the EU. European solidarity and the will of the Greek people to remain in the European family has so far averted ‘Grexit’, despite a close call in July 2015.
Now Brexit is before us, and Greece, among others, is called upon to form a position concerning the post-Brexit EU-UK relationship.
There are two possible outcomes of the Brexit negotiations. One is a ‘hard Brexit’, in which Britain leaves the Single Market, abandons the ‘four freedoms’ – the free movement of people, goods, services and capital – and resorts to a kind of ‘fortress Britain’ in which there will be a significant reduction in the volume of trade of goods and services between Britain and the EU. The second possible outcome is a ‘soft Brexit’, in which Britain remains in the Single Market, retains the acquis communautaire, and accepts mainly cosmetic restrictions to the free movement of people.
The question that arises for Greece is whether it should push for a hard Brexit, or whether it should aim for a negotiation that would make it possible for Britain to accept a soft Brexit.
In this, Greece should balance political and economic considerations, as well as the possible contagion effects that would be generated if Britain were to be perceived as having secured an outcome in accordance with its own objectives.