Ambassador Louis-Alkiviadis Abates, director general for international economic affairs, ministry of foreign affairs, claimed the ailing European project will have to fight harder than ever to maintain its membership.
The European Commission president conceded fundamental internal wrangles over migration and the euro could drive the remaining 27 member states apart, adding: “We are not in the best form and shape we could be in.”
Discussing the declining EU, Mr Abates told the British Hellenic Chamber of Commerce it was now important to strike a good working relationship between the EU and UK to keep the rest of the bloc together.
A Greek finance chief has claimed Brexit proved the European Union can fail
The British people’s decision showcased the reversibility of the European edifice
He said: “We are in need of each other in order to address a multitude of common, regional and global challenges.
“The British people’s decision showcased the reversibility of the European edifice, an inconceivable concept so far.
“Now the emphasis should be led on retaining a friendly and constructive spirit throughout the process.
“Our priorities are trust in the unity, upkeep communautaire and the future of the European Union – namely, to protect and further promote our shared democratic values.”
Mr Abates warned against weakening “cooperation” with Britain, insisting it would be a “costly mistake”.
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Addressing the same audience, Nikoloas Karamouzis, chairman of Eurobank Ergasias, defended the EU in the face of Brexit.
The Greek said it would be “ignorant” to believe member states would be better off without the bloc.
He said: “I personally believe the UK decision to leave the European Union is not a step in the right direction.
Brexit Negotiations: Britain's sternest enemies
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According to a new index, the EU27 countries fall into three groups: hard-core, hard and soft. These are the countries with the highest scores which indicate a fairly strong opposition to Britain’s position
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France has the highest score in the index at 32.5
“But in democratic societies, we have to fully respect the decision of the British people to democratically determine their own destiny.
“The rest of Europe, despite the current uncertainties, setbacks and difference, it is the best time to work together and continue our efforts towards a closer European declaration and more Europe, not less.
“Only someone ignorant of history could believe Europe could be more prosperous, stable, influence, secure, democratic and liberal place if it was to separate into 28 pieces.
“In time, the UK might slowly and painfully come to realise that it has not become richer, more united and more influential outside the European Union.”