Saturday, 14 December 2019

Turkey flexes muscle as Greece and EU stick to international law

This analysis was published by Al Jazeera International.

Greek-Turkish relations have been thrown into a new diplomatic crisis since November 28, when Turkey announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Libya delimiting their maritime boundaries. 

The memorandum traces a corridor of water between the Turkish and Libyan coasts that cuts across what Greece views as its islands’ maritime area.

At stake are national prestige and the prospect of hydrocarbons. Greece and Turkey have not delimited their Exclusive Economic Zones, which allow countries to exploit undersea wealth. Cyprus, Israel and Egypt, who have delimited their EEZs, have all discovered offshore gas fields that can power their economies for decades.

Alarmed by Turkish statements that Turkey would send ships to look for oil and gas in its new dominions, Greece reinforced its military garrison on Crete and told Turkey that its drillships would be sunk.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Greece's letter to the UN Security Council


Ref No. 90.2.2/3065
                                                                                                                 New York, 9 December 2019


The Greek Government has been informed that a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Republic of Turkey and the Government of National Accord-State of Libya, on delimitation of the maritime jurisdiction areas in the Mediterranean”, was signed on 27 November 2019. This agreement was concluded in bad faith and in violation of the rules of the International Law of the Sea on maritime delimitation because, first and foremost, Turkey and Libya have neither overlapping maritime zones nor common boundaries and, consequently, there is no legal basis to lawfully conclude a maritime delimitation agreement. Likewise, the agreement disregards the presence of the Greek islands in that maritime area, including the island of Crete, and violates their right to generate maritime zones, as any land territory, as Article 121 of the UNCLOS clearly stipulates.

Furthermore, the boundaries of the purported continental shelf and exclusive economic zone”, as they are defined in the text of this agreement, are fictitious, unlawful, arbitrary and provocative, and openly infringe on Greece’s sovereign rights in that maritime area, thus seriously endangering regional peace and stability.

What is also striking in the above agreement is that, in spite of the declared position of Turkey that Greek islands in the Eastern Mediterranean have no weight for the determination of the maritime boundaries in that area, the drafters of this agreement have used Turkish islands and rocks as base points for the construction of the purported ‘equidistance line’, as stated in article 1 para 3 of the said agreement and shown in the annexes thereto. This shows the hypocritical and contradictory stance of Turkey concerning maritime delimitation in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In addition, this agreement is null and void since it was not endorsed by the House of Representatives of Libya, as required by Article 8 par. 2 (f) of the Libyan Political Agreement of 2015, approved by the United Nations Security Council through Resolution 2259 (2015). Likewise, this agreement was unequivocally rejected by the President of the House of Representatives of Libya, Aguila Saleh Issa, in a letter sent to the United Nations Secretary-General.

Given that the said agreement is in clear violation of the letter of the Libyan Political Agreement and, as was mentioned above, it endangers regional peace and stability, its conclusion should be urgently brought to the attention of the Security Council. In this respect Greece wishes to recall paragraph 19 of Resolution 2259 (2015), which refers to the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement, including acts that disrupt or prevent its implementation.

The Greek Government expresses its strong opposition to the unlawful delimitation aimed at by the above agreement, which illegally overlaps on zones of legitimate and exclusive Greek sovereign rights, and rejects it in its entirety as null and void and without any effect on its sovereign rights.

On this occasion, Greece wishes to reiterate its strong commitment to resolve any delimitation issue with neighbouring countries in the Eastern Mediterranean by peaceful means, in good faith and in accordance with the international law of the sea. It was in that spirit that Greece and Libya started some years ago to negotiate, in line with the provisions of the UNCLOS, a maritime delimitation agreement, which, however, was disrupted because of the unfortunate events in that country. Negotiations are also currently taking place between Greece and Egypt regarding the delimitation of their common maritime boundaries.  

In the light of the above, Greece requests the Security Council to condemn the conclusion of the said Memorandum which blatantly contravenes international legality and call on the two States concerned to refrain from any action that would violate the sovereign rights of Greece, or would escalate tensions in this region.

Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

                                                                                                                  Maria Theofili
                                                                                                         Permanent Representative

H.E. Mrs. Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations
President of the Security Council for the month of December 2019

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Greece and Turkey closer to armed conflict, say experts

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

ATHENS, Greece - Greece and Turkey have come closer to armed conflict after Turkey’s surprise delineation of an Exclusive Economic Zone with Libya, experts tell Al Jazeera.

The agreement, signed on November 27 and unveiled on Thursday, maps out a corridor of water stretching across the eastern Mediterranean between the coasts of Turkey and Libya, cutting across a swath that is also claimed by EU member Greece.

EEZs allow countries exclusive rights to exploit natural resources including mineral wealth.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Greece, Turkey, set for showdown over maritime boundaries

This article was published by Al Jazeera International. 

Greek prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are set to hold a tense meeting on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London on Wednesday.

Relations between the historic rivals have been tense since Turkey announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with Libya to delineate their maritime economic interests.

A map published by Turkey shows the Turkish and Libyan Exclusive Economic Zones meeting midway across the Mediterranean, over an area that is also claimed by Greece.

“I shall put to President Erdogan all the issues relating to Turkish provocation,” Mitsotakis told his colleagues according to a press release from his office. “We will talk openly. And it is in Turkey’s interest to retrench from provocative moves.”

Monday, 25 November 2019

Greece remembers the brutality that felled its dictatorship

The anniversary of a student uprising acts as a test-run for new police freedom to enter university campuses

This article was published by Al Jazeera International

People throw red carnations on the Polytechnic gates that were crushed by a tank in 1973 during a student occupation of the campus

ATHENS, Greece - Many thousands of Greeks took to the streets peacefully on Sunday to commemorate the brutal suppression of a student uprising 46 years ago.

They marched in groups from the grounds of the Athens Polytechnic, which was strewn with red carnations, to the US embassy, chanting anti-American and anti-capitalist slogans.

November 17 commemorates a student occupation of the Athens Polytechnic in 1973, which was brutally crushed by the US-backed military dictatorship then ruling Greece. The students were demanding free student elections to university bodies.

Greece and China hail strategic partnership, as US & EU look on

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.
COSCO plans to develop Piraeus-based cruise shipping in 2020 as a particularly lucrative industry

ATHENS, Greece – Greece hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first official visit to Greece on Monday as a “new era” in what is an already close trade and investment relationship being closely watched by the United States and the European Union.

“Greece recognises China not only as a great power but also as a county that has won for itself, not without difficulty, a leading geostrategic economic and political role,” prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Xi.

Greece seems eager to play a greater role in China’s overseas development. The two countries’ delegations signed 16 memoranda of co-operation, the most important of which outline new Chinese energy investments in Greece.

One establishes an Athens branch of the Industrial and Commerical Bank of China to finance renewable energy projects. Another facilitates a 50MW solar power station on the island of Crete being built with technical expertise from the China Energy Engineering Group.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Human rights community decries new Greek asylum law

This article was published by Al Jazeera International. 

ATHENS, Greece – Greece passed a new asylum law late on Thursday amid acrimonious debate and against a storm of withering criticism from Greek and international aid organisations.

The three month-old conservative New Democracy government says the law will bring much-needed speed and efficiency to Greece’s bogged-down asylum process.

Critics say it breaks European and international humanitrian law, and creates a monstrous machinery that will likely condemn deserving asylum applicants to deportation and death. 

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees said the law “puts an excessive burden on asylum seekers and focuses on punitive measures. It introduces tough requirements that an asylum seeker could not reasonably be expected to fulfil.”

Europe breaking own rules to deter asylum seekers

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

ATHENS, Greece - A recent decision by the European Ombudsman that found “serious errors” with an Algerian man’s asylum denial has served to highlight broader issues in Europe’s asylum practices.

Human rights organisations in Greece tell Al Jazeera that the case referred to the Ombudsman is only a part of broader systemic flaws and a deliberately restrictive application of asylum law.

Mr. X was deported back to Algeria after being interviewed by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) on the Greek island of Leros in January last year. His homosexuality is illegal in his home country, and his sexual partner’s family had threatened to kill him if he returned.

The legal aid group Advocates Abroad, which represented Mr. X, says it has lost touch with him and now fears the deportation may have led to his death.

In a complaint dated April 2018, seen by Al Jazeera, Mr. X’s lawyer said the EASO interviewer “prejudiced the outcome” of Mr. X’s case by conducting the interview “in a hostile and adversarial manner,” that contravened EASO’s own published guidelines.

Greece, US hail strategic relationship after signing defence deal

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

ATHENS – The US and Greece on Saturday signed a revised Mutual Defence Co-operation Agreement that will elevate Greece’s strategic value and lead to US investments in Greek military facilities.

“This is a pivotal point for Greek-American relations,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after signing the agreement. “The Greek-US relationship has literally never been stronger.”

For the first time, Greece is consenting to an indefinite agreement that doesn’t need to be renewed each year. In return, US armed forces are expected to expand the Sixth Fleet’s base in Crete, and create drone bases and permanent helicopter training facilities in central Greece.

Most importantly of all, perhaps, the US is to establish a new naval and airforce base in the northeast Greek city of Alexandroupoli to supply NATO allies Bulgaria and Romania. This bypasses the current route through the Bosphorus, controlled by Turkey.

EU calls on Turkey to speed up readmission of illegal migrants

 This article was published by Al Jazeera International

ATHENS - Greece, Germany and the European Commission on Friday called on Turkey to fully implement its migration agreement with the EU, by speeding up the return of asylum-seekers that crossed onto EU territory from Turkish soil.

“The European Council and Commisison are here to reassure Greece of their unstinting support to bring to fulfilment the EU-Turkey statement,” said German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

The EU-Turkey Statement came into force in March 2016, and stipulates that Turkey must readmit third-country nationals who “illegally and directly entered the territory of the Member States after having stayed on, or transited through, the territory of Turkey.”

“Our aim is the full implentation of the EU-Turkey Statement,” said European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, who was on the return leg of a trip to the Turkish capital.

Greece launches hydrocarbon production as part of a green agenda

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

The resort town of Sybota and Paxoi islands in the distance could be impacted by hydrocarbon extraction, say environmental groups

IGOUMENITSA, Greece – For the past two years, the residents of Greece’s northwest province of Epirus have been tripping up on short wooden stakes planted about a foot high in the ground. They stand in rows that continue interminably through villages, over meadows and mountains, blue ribbons fluttering from their tops.

Few Epirots are aware that these stakes do not mark any future road, overhead cable or utility pipe. They are grid markers that allow engineers to evenly space hundreds of controlled, underground explosions that will send shock waves into Epirus’ subsurface, creating three-dimensional maps of its rock formations. Engineers believe those formations will suggest the presence of oil and natural gas.

Epirus is perhaps the last place on Earth where one would expect to find hydrocarbon exploration. It is a pastoral landscape of tilted meadows, gorges so deep and vast that birds born in them never need to fly elsewhere, lakes that reflect the sky as clear as mercury, and savage, snow-topped mountains that drop into an azure Ionian sea.

This is a still-pristine world many Epirots do not want sullied. “Humanity will one day face shortages of drinkable water, and we have some of Europe’s finest water here,» says Vasilis Dimitriou, an activist with Greenpeace. He questions the wisdom of driving concrete pipes through the water table to extract oil that may lie beneath it. «If there is a fracture and oil seeps into the water table, the area is ruined.»

“We want our children’s classmates back”: Refugee eviction causes fury in Athens

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

The police eviction of 143 undocumented migrants from a disused school building in central Athens has provided the first negative feedback to the three month-old conservative Greek government’s toughening refugee policy.

Most of the evictees from the defunct 5th High School building in the Exarheia neighbourhood were women and children from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and seven other Asian and African countries.

About a dozen children were enrolled in local Greek schools, and their sudden disappearance from the classroom raised the ire of their Greek classmates, their parents and their teachers.

“We want our children’s classmates back,” said a statement issued on September 25 by the parents’ association of the 35th and 36th Elementary Schools of Athens. “Thanks to them, many schools in the centre remained open.”

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Striking Greek unions accuse government of leaving them powerless

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.
Supporters of the labour union of the Communist Party of Greece marched through Athens on Tuesday.

Greece’s three month-old conservative government faced its first public sector strike on Tuesday, as it presented a bill it says will bring growth and jobs.

Athens city buses and electric trolleys remained parked, as did light rail and passenger shipping. The result was gridlock when commuters took to their cars. Government services were shuttered. Public schools closed and hospitals operated on skeleton staff. The civil aviation authority grounded flights for three hours.

Although Tuesday’s strike was primarily a public sector strike, private sector unions were present. Banks remained closed and some retail, construction and telecommunications workers’ unions joined protest marches to parliament. The private sector will hold its own full-blown strike on October 2nd.

Greece’s tourism industry left reeling from Thomas Cook collapse

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Almost one in ten of the 600,000 Thomas Cook travellers left stranded by the holidaymaker’s collapse were in Greece on Monday.

The government said 15 aircraft were en route to fly them from the islands of Corfu and Zakynthos, in the Ionian Sea, and Kos in the Aegean, back home. It estimates that as many as 22,000 of the roughly 50,000 stranded travellers in Greece will be repatriated by Wednesday. It appeared that all of these flights were being chartered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

“The expenses, overnight stays and flights home for tourists who flew with Thomas Cook from now until the end of their booking have been secured,” a Greek tourism ministry announcement said.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Greece vows to “simplify” asylum process, then appears to reconsider

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Greece’s announcement that it will “simplify” its asylum procedure has met with such concern from human rights groups and the judiciary, that the government may be reconsidering its course of action.

The two month-old conservative New Democracy government issued a statement on September 1 accusing the previous, leftwing Syriza administration of creating an “absurd… unique, complicated” legal framework for asylum leading to “endless recycling of asylum applications”.

“The government will simplify this system,” it said.

The legal profession believes this likely means an abolition of the appeals process to which an asylum reject may apply, and which is mandatory under European and international humanitarian law.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Is PM Mitsotakis the austerity-hit Greek economy's best hope?

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

THESSALONIKI, Greece - As Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis mounted the podium at the Thessaloniki International Fair to unveil his vision for a robust Greek economy, he already seemed to have a fair wind behind him.

“People believe there will be change for the better in all things - in the market, in the economy, in education,” says Mariana Valetopoulou, a second-generation business owner in this northern port city’s market district.

She looks back on the left-wing Syriza government’s four-year rule with dread. “There was no police,” she says looking at the street outside her shop that sells sewing and knitting goods. “They didn’t intervene for any reason. There was lawlessness… There’s already more police. You don’t have this licentiousness.”

Thursday, 11 July 2019

How family and politics shaped Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

This article was published by Al Jazeera International

The election of Greece’s reformist prime minister could mark a change in political culture after decades of overspending and a decade of austerity

When Kyriakos Mitsotakis assumed his first cabinet post in 2012, Greeks broadly agreed that he’d been seated before the poisoned chalice. Under the terms of a freshly signed, €130bn emergency loan from the Eurozone, the conservatives had to dismiss up to 25,000 state workers over two years and bring down the cost of government. It was Mitsotakis’ job to get it done.

Over two years, he dismissed more than 5,000 people, including the entire municipal police force and two thirds of the state television payroll – something no Greek government had done in living memory.

He also introduced evaluation. “Impunity in the state is over,” he told parliament in March 2014. “We will pull skeletons out of closets and we will send people home who’ve provably engaged in illegal practices.”

Asked about it on state television during his 2016 election campaign for the party leadership, Mitsotakis said, “The dismissals were a difficult political decision and I shouldered it myself without much support, but it was a government commitment. I don’t appreciate ex post facto criticism.”

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Conservative New Democracy poised for victory in Greece election

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Athens, Greece - Greece’s conservative New Democracy party is poised to take power in a general election on Sunday, after nearly five years of leftwing rule. The latest polls show the centre-right opposition party of Kyriakos Mitsotakis leading the ruling Syriza by 9-11 percentage points and taking as many as 165 legislators in the 300-member parliament.

A jubilant Mitsotakis, the son of a former prime minister, promised hundreds of supporters in the Greek capital, Athens, prosperity after a decade-long financial crisis.  

“The warmth of your reception is a sign that tomorrow Greece is lifting its head high, but it's also pulling up its sleeves to build a new future,” the 51-year-old former banker said beneath the Acropolis.

The snap election on Sunday comes three months before the end of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ term runs out. The embattled leader called the poll hours after New Democracy trounced his party in May’s European elections.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

In Greece, an organic rebel farm goes against the grain

 A Greek family’s quest for seeds, sustainability and independence

This article was published by Al Jazeera International 
Yiorgos (L) and Antonis Antonopoulos on a hill overlooking Dilofo.

DILOFO, Thessaly - On the Greek government’s list of certified organic farmers, Antonis Antonopoulos has the serial number one.

What really makes Antonis and his brother, Yiorgos, a singular phenomenon, though, is not that their model farm pioneered organic methods in Greece; it’s that they were among the first to realise that organically grown, local varieties of wheat and barley other farmers had cast aside could be a commercial hit.

The Antonopouloi have branded and shipped their organic flours made from indigenous grains to specialty shops and bakeries for years. Two years ago, their branded Zea flour, derived from a double-kerneled wheat bred in their town of Dilofo, became the key ingredient in an eponymous sliced bread that is distributed nationwide. Although sales figures are a closely guarded secret, it is clear that Zea’s commercial success has brought an ancient grain back from the brink of extinction.

“Demand is growing,” says Yiorgos Antonopoulos, who won’t divulge his annual turnover or how many hectares he cultivates. “Suffice it to say that I’m better off than anyone else in the area.”

This success is important because Greece is a natural gene bank. Its archipelago, varied terrain and microclimates favoured so many divergent evolutionary paths that today it has the highest plant biodiversity in Europe, with approximately 6,000 wild plant species or subspecies, and thousands of cultivated plants. Should this vast genetic vocabulary be lost, scientists and farmers could lose a vital resource in the fight to keep feeding the planet in a rapidly-changing climate.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Kyriakos Velopoulos: From TV salesman to European Parliament

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.
Kyriakow Velopoulos denies he sold "letters written by Christ" in a television appearance on 15 May 2018.
Athens, Greece - Famous in Greece for selling "letters written by Jesus" on television, Kyriakos Velopoulos, a ranting far-right populist and telepersona, managed to pull off one of the biggest surprises of last week's European Parliament elections.

His party, Greek Solution, was an unheard-of party to most Greek voters until May 27. Its capture of 4.2 percent of the national vote in European Parliament elections that day caught the country off-guard.

It also puts the party in place to take more than a dozen seats in the 300-seat national parliament when Greece holds a national election  on July 7.  

Kyriakos Velopoulos, its rags-to-riches founder, a former journalist, attributed the party's popularity to the fact that he met many of his voters personally.

"I crossed the country three times, door to door," he said in a television interview the day after the election. "Politicians today are too far from the people. If everyone had done their jobs, we might not be here today."

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Greek conservative party well placed ahead of snap election

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis greets supporters in Thessaloniki, on his final campaign speech for the European party election on May 24.

ATHENS - Greek voters punished the ruling Syriza for broken promises in Sunday’s European Parliament election. Conservative New Democracy’s nine-point lead over Syriza was so devastating, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras announced that he will call a snap general election at the end of June, four months early. “The result… is not up to par with our expectations,” Tsipras said.

Tsipras was referring to more than a billion dollars’ worth of handouts he had announced three weeks before, in the form of a halving of sales tax in supermarkets and restaurants, and a bonus pension. Voters were not taken in.

“Tsipras’ handouts acted as a boomerang,” says Nikolaos Nikolaidis, a lawyer with good connections inside the conservative party. “If you look at how pensioners voted, the bonus pension was more of an annoyance. It reminded them of all that had been taken away in previous years. It was also announced just before the election and was clearly connected to it.”

Iran tension highlights EU’s subordinate role

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

US-Iranian tensions have revived concern over the European Union’s difficulty in speaking with authority on the world stage.

“I don’t see that there’s greater unity in Europe than there was in 2003,” says Thanos Dokos, Director of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, referring to European divisions over the Second Gulf War. “If anything, there is less.”

In the runup to European Parliament elections this month, Iran threatened to depart from a deal struck in 2015 with US President Obama, that lifted trade sanctions against Tehran in return for a vastly scaled down nuclear programme.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Syriza unnerves creditors as it reaches for voters

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Greece’s Syriza government on Wednesday approved a slate of tax sweeteners and handouts worth well over a billion euros, as it tried to boost its popularity days ahead of European Parliament elections.

Opposition parties joined Syriza in voting for a measure that allows tax debtors to schedule their arrears in 120 instalments.

They also supported the government in lowering sales tax on food and restaurants from 24 percent to 13 percent.

More controversial was the government’s handout of a 13th monthly pension to 2.5 million retirees.

Syriza has promised further fiscal relaxation ahead of a general election due by October.

“We have a brand and we have recognition value in Europe. It is a left wing brand and we shall contest the next election as the left and win it as the left,” finance minister Euclid Tsakalotos told parliament.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Second Tree picks up the challenge of refugee integration

This article was published by Al Jazeera International.

Students in Second Tree’s English class near Katsikas camp

Sarah hands out slips of paper to her class, each with a verb in the present tense. Her 13 students must come up to the whiteboard and write the appropriate past tense for their verb, and then pronounce it.

Reza, from Afghanistan, correctly writes “tried”, but he produces peals of laughter from Riat, a Somali, when he says, “I cried to learn.” Riat is clearly the star of the class. She whispers everybody’s answer correctly to herself; but even she doesn’t understand how the aorist of leave can be “left”. Nor does anyone else. “Left, right?” asks one student.

Sarah is an English teacher for Second Tree, an aid group made entirely of volunteers. Her wards are adult refugees from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They assemble every weekday morning in a 25sqm schoolhouse of unfinished lumber hammered together by volunteers. It sits in the parking lot of a defunct furniture factory across the street from Katsikas refugee camp, near Ioannina in northwest Greece.

Friday, 12 April 2019

How refugees die

This article was published by The Sewanee Review and Longreads.

I met Doa Shukrizan at the harbormaster’s office in the port of
Chania, in western Crete. She sat with her back to a balcony
 overlooking the street, and the strong morning light enveloped
 her delicate figure, so that there appeared to be even
less of her than there was after her ordeal with the sea. Doa’s face 
had peeled from extreme sunburn; she spoke softly. Between the
cavernous ceiling and polished concrete floor, the only furnishings
 were tables, chairs and ring binders, so that voices, however slender,
 resounded. There were no secrets in this room. During the hour
 that we spoke, three coastguard officers sat at their desks not doing
 any work, transfixed by what she said.

Doa and her fiancé had been among some five hundred people
 who boarded a fishing trawler at the port of Damietta in the Nile
Delta on September 6, 2014. Many, like Doa, were Syrian. Others
 were Palestinian or Sudanese. All were fleeing war and had paid
 smugglers to ferry them, illegally, to Italy.

Doa’s family had fled their native town of Daraa soon after the
Syrian uprising began there in March 2011, when Doa was just sixteen. They spent more than two years in an unofficial refugee camp
 in Egypt, and pooled enough money to pay Doa’s and her fiancé’s 
passage, so they could start their lives in Europe.

Why Greeks abhor and applaud Brexit

The secret appeal of Britain’s imperiousness to Europe’s disenfranchised South

This article was published in the Spectator US.

Pavlos Eleftheriadis is as Anglophilic a Greek as they come. His wife and children are British, and he is a professor of public law at Oxford. But Brexit has altered Eleftheriadis’ view of life in Britain.

‘Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept that half of the society you live in is against the presence of Europeans,’ he says. ‘This came out very strongly, including from the prime minister herself. She said we have to stop the free movement of workers from Europe. It’s her primary objective. This wounds you. You wonder why they say this and what led them to it.’

Eleftheriadis says that he’s never seen a hint of racism or prejudice in professional life. But he’s hedging against the attitudes of the next generation. This year, he’s taking a sabbatical, partly in order to acquaint his children with their Greek roots.

‘My children have Greek names. I’m not sure I want them to grow up here 100 percent British. I want them to be Greek, too… so they can have a choice in case things become very ugly in Britain.’