Greece–United Kingdom relations

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British–Greek relations
Map indicating locations of United Kingdom and Greece

United Kingdom


Greek–British relations are foreign relations between the Greece and the United Kingdom. The two countries have been allies during the First World War and the Second World War, but also Greece received military assistance from the United Kingdom during the Greek War of Independence. Both countries currently maintain relations via the British Embassy in Athens and a consultate general in Thessaloniki[1] and the Greek Embassy in London.[2]

Greece and the United Kingdom maintain excellent bilateral relations[3] with the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, paying an official visit to the Athens in 2011.[4] Britain and Greece share membership of the European Union, United Nations, NATO and the Council of Europe. Both Britain and Greece support the accession of Serbia to the European Union.

Summary of Historical links[edit]

Gordon Brown with George Papandreou during his visit to Athens
Meeting of the Royal Navy and the Greek Navy during the Second World War

Britain supported Greece in the Greek War of Independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 1820s with the Treaty of Constantinople being ratified at the London Conference of 1832.

In 1850, the British Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston sent a Royal Navy squadron to Greece over the Pacifico incident.

When the Greek King Otto was deposed by the Greeks in 1862, Queen Victoria's son Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was chosen to succeed him. However, the British government would not allow this. The current British monarch Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom's husband Prince Philip is the grandson of Otto's eventual successor George I of Greece.

Great Britain wrested control of the Ionian Islands from Napoleonic France in 1815. As the "United States of the Ionian Islands", they remained under British control, even after Greek Independence (partly because Greece's first, German king caused concern in London). However, in 1864, Britain responded to calls for enosis by transferring the Islands to Greece.

In 1947, the future Queen Elizabeth II married Philip Mountbatten, formerly a Prince of Greece and Denmark.

In 2000, Stephen Saunders, the British military attaché in Athens, was murdered by motorcycle gunmen who were members of Revolutionary Organization 17 November. The investigation that followed led to an unprecedented level of co-operation between Greek and UK Police services, who achieved, following a lengthy investigation the arrest of members of 17N who were then brought to trial.

Conference of Hydra[edit]

Foreign Minister Dimitris Avramopoulos (left) meeting with the Ambassador of the United Kingdom David Landsman in Athens in July 2012

The Conference of Hydra took place in the island of Hydra in March 2000 in order to boost further the friendship between Britain and Greece. Discussions during the conference emphasised the economic aspect of this relations and the ways to soar trade between Britain and Greece.[5]

Diplomatic Representation[edit]

Greek and British flags waving from a window in Athens

Greece has an embassy in London and Honorary Consulates in Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gibraltar, Glasgow and Leeds.[6] The United Kingdom has an embassy in Athens and a Honorary Vice Consulate in Patras and Thessaloniki. The United Kingdom also has Honorary Consulates in Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Thessaloniki and Zakynthos.[7][8]

Cultural exchange between Greece and Britain[edit]

There are between 40-45 thousand Greeks residing permanently in the UK, and the Greek Orthodox Church has a strong presence in the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The British cultural presence in Greece is promoted mainly through the British Council. There is a significant Greek presence of Greek students in tertiary education in the UK. A large Cypriot community – numbering 250-300 thousand – rallies round the National Federation of Cypriots in Great Britain and the Association of Greek Orthodox Communities of Great Britain. There are some 20 Greek cultural, philanthropic and professional organizations. There are seven chairs of Greek and Byzantine studies at the universities of Cambridge, Oxford, East Anglia, Royal Holloway, Birmingham, King’s College and the London School of Economics, and two Greek Studies Centres, at the universities of Bristol and Reading.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UK and Greece - UK and the world - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  2. ^ "News". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  3. ^ "UK and Greece - UK and the world - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  4. ^ Jason Beattie (2011-11-02). "Greece bailout referendum plunges eurozone into crisis - Mirror Online". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  5. ^ "ELIAMEP | UK / Greece: A new look at relations". 2005-05-29. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  6. ^ "Greece’s Bilateral Relations". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  7. ^ "Worldwide organisations - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  8. ^ "British Embassy Athens - GOV.UK". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 
  9. ^ "The Hellenic Centre London | Venue Hire & Greek Cultural Centre - About us". Retrieved 2013-09-13. 

External links[edit]