On the 6th July 2015 the Bishop of Chester responded to a Government Statement on Greece. The Bishop asked if the Government should be using its role outside of the eurozone strategically and what contact had been made between the UK and Greece recently to discuss the political situation.
The Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I was struck in the Statement by the sentence:
“Greece is a proud nation and a very long-standing ally of the United Kingdom”.
The danger in all of this is that, because we are not in the eurozone, we slightly sit on the fence, hedge our bets or stand on the sidelines. That can leave a certain vacuum. I have been very upset by the rhetoric between Germany and Greece in recent weeks—on both sides. The two nations are a little like chalk and cheese in so many ways. Politically, I wonder whether there is not a role, precisely because we are not in the eurozone politically, that we are not taking. What high-level contacts have there been between the Greek Government and the UK Government on these political issues?
Lord O’Neill of Gatley: My Lords, the right reverend Prelate asks, again, a slightly delicate question. I mentioned in my formal comments that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor in particular had a number of discussions with key participants from the eurozone and the head of the IMF earlier today and this afternoon. I suspect that there will be further discussions during this evening and tomorrow. We are obviously aware of our position as an EU member relative to those inside the eurogroup, and we will offer in private the views that we think may be of some use in helping them come to the right resolution.