ATHENS // The news of Britain’s Brexit result was met with stunned surprise in Greece. Below is a timeline of Greek reactions as the news unfolded.
The country, one of the weakest economies in the European Union, is already feeling the aftereffects of the results as the Athens Stock Exchange plunged some 14 per cent in the wake of the news, with banks down by 30 per cent.
Nick Malkoutzis, editor of the English version of Kathimerini, one of Greece’s major newspapers, and editor of Macropolis.gr said that the result marked the beginning of a period of prolonded uncertainty for the EU. “In this environment, you don’t want to be isolated politically or to have a fragile economy. Unfortunately, Greece fits the bill in both cases.”
The Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras called the referendum a “wakeup call” and a “negative development for the European Union. “The arrogant words of technocrats angered people. We need progressive reforms to raise a wall against Europskepticism,” he said.
The Syriza MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis said: “The Britons decided to endorse the notion of xenophobia and isolation.”
Of immediate concern among analysts in Greece was the impact of Brexit on the country’s vital tourism sector, as the sterling plummeted to historic lows. Britons have long made up some of the largest visitor numbers to Greece. With the sterling bringing reduced spending power across the European continent, it remains uncertain whether the British love affair with Greek holidays will continue after Brexit.
Here is how Athens reacted as the shock result became clear:
All times UAE
Greece’s prime minister Alexis Tsipras has finally broken his silence on the outcome of the UK’s referendum, calling it a “negative development” for the European Union, and urging a “fresh vision” for Europe.
“The outcome of the referendum should act as a wake-up call for the sleepwalker who is heading for the abyss,” he said.
“The arrogant words of technocrats angered people. We need progressive reforms to raise a wall against Europ-scepticism.”
Stocks on the Athens Stock Exchange continued their downward slide throughout the day, with banks down by around 30 per cent. The effects of the Brexit were particularly felt on the Greek exchange due to the greater influence by credit sector stocks which have been badly impacted by market turbulence following the UK referendum result.
Dimitris Papadimoulis, the Syriza MEP: “The Britons decided to endorse the notion of xenophobia and isolation, preferring to avoid fighting inside Europe to change political and economic balances in favor of economic and social convergence.
“This huge development in Great Britain and the wider repercussions it engenders, put additional challenges for Greece: political and financial stability, sincere and productive political debating, decisive implementation of a growth-led agenda are even more indispensable for the country. In addition to that, there is a growing need for joint actions to achieve sustainable debt relief and lower primary surpluses after 2018.”
The Greek economics news site Capital.gr, is reporting the immediate impact of what it has dubbed the “British Armageddon for Markets” on Greek markets.
The Athens Stock Exchange immediately fell upon opening with news of the Brexit. Specifically, the Greek Index recorded a loss of 13.38 per cent to 532.27 points. Turnover was at €22.5 million (Dh416.9m) and trade volume at 54.5 million units.
The FTSE 25 index recorded a loss of 16.4 per cent to 1,433.66 points, while the banking index fell 29.8 per cent to 724.87 points.
At the time of announcing the data, the General Index of the exchange recorded its second-largest one day fall since the start of the crisis, beaten only by the reopening of the stock exchange after last summer’s extended bank holiday.