Community Politics

Britain’s EU exit and the Greeks

While Greek youths battle it out for a job among the 50% lucky enough to be employed, many have chosen to flee to Britain instead. However, with Britain set to leave the EU, many Greeks living in the UK now face fears over their futures.

Only last summer was everyone talking about Greece’s exit from the EU. Greece was barely saved thanks to a third bailout loan package.

History seems to be repeating itself, following Britain’s choice to leave the EU. After a referendum vote, 52% of British citizens chose to part ways with the EU. The results surprised everyone around the globe.

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Greek restaurant owner, Anthimos Patsiouras, relocated to London almost four years ago. He currently runs a Greek restaurant known as The Life Goddess, situated near Oxford Circus. He runs the business with three other partners; Ilias Koulakitis, Giorgou Difoudi and Nikos Nyfoudis. Patsiouras now not only has the stress and worry that comes with being an immigrant from a foreign country but also the immediate impact that the so-called Brexit has caused his business.

He explained how the Brexit has already affected his company due to their need to import food products from Greece. Due to Greece’s relations with the EU, as well as the decrease of the sterling, it costs far more to import such goods than previously. There are currently two branches of the uptown Greek eatery situated in the heart of London. Patsiouras enjoyed the challenge of opening his own business and saw it as an opportunity to share a taste of Greek culture.

The Life Goddess’s bartender, Konstantios Moustakidis, began working at the popular restaurant only three weeks after the Brexit referendum took place. He’s working as a bartender in order to save some money to complete his master’s degree at a British university. Despite his very recent arrival into Britain, he is not put off by the Brexit and remains positive. He explains how his move to Britain was not a decision made lightly, and his parents were extremely concerned. So far he is yet to feel the impact of the Brexit and believes it’s too early to say what his future will be like, should he remain in the UK.

Concerns related to the amount of immigrants entering the country was one of the key topics during Britain’s EU referendum campaign. Many voters believed that exiting from the EU would solve such issues.

It is, in fact, true that many EU migrants have arrived in the UK over the last few years. Approximately more than 5.4 million foreign-born EU nationals currently live in the UK, according to the most recent Eurostat estimates. Migrants represent 8.4% of the UK population.

Although the UK has always been a popular choice for Greeks since their country’s economic struggles, they only make up a tiny percentage of EU migrants. Around 17 different EU nationalities currently reside in the UK and account for higher figures of migrants in Britain. A vast majority of Greeks that choose to live in Britain are those hoping to study at a British university or those seeking employment.

Indeed British people made their choices to leave the EU, Article 50 has still not been activated. It’s certain that people will face many challenges ahead when Article 50 is triggered, and the exit process begins.

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