Skip to main content

Greece

Flag of Greece

Greece country brief

Key engagement

Australia and Greece maintain close ties based on strong people-to-people links, a shared war history, and common values.

Australia and Greece established diplomatic ties in 1964, when Australia appointed an Ambassador to Athens.

Outlook

Australia and Greece have a healthy trade and investment relationship.

Over the past five years, total merchandise trade between Australia and Greece has experienced growth of 9.8 per cent per annum.

Bilateral relations

Australia and Greece have a close bilateral relationship based on historical ties and the rich contribution of Greek Australians to Australian society.

Australia and Greece share an enduring historical links as a result of the presence of Australian troops in Greece during the two World Wars. During World War I, the Greek island of Lemnos was the base for over 50,000 Australian soldiers, sailors and nurses who fought and served in the Gallipoli campaign. In the Battle of Crete (May 1941) during World War II, Australian soldiers fought alongside Greek, New Zealand and British troops, including to defend Crete against German invasion. The battle is commemorated annually.

Foreign policy

Greece's foreign policy agenda has traditionally focused on the European Union, the Balkans and its region.

Greece joined the European Union in 1981 and has held the rotating Presidency in 1983, 1988, 1994, 2003 and 2014. It has been a member of the Schengen Area since 2000 and adopted the Euro in 2001. Greece is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which it joined in 1952, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Fast facts

Greek visitors to Australia (year ended June 2020)
6,900
Australian returns from Greece (year ended June 2020)
108,100
Resident Australian population born in Greece (2016 census)
93,740
Australian residents of Greek descent (2016 census)
397,433
Greek working holidaymakers (2019-20)
28
Greek student enrolments in Australia (2019)
849

High level engagement

October 2019 - Australian Parliamentary Delegation visit to Athens.

March 2019 - Former Greek Deputy Foreign Minister, Mr Terens Quick visited Australia to attend events organised by the Greek community in celebration of Greece’s National Independence Day and to meet with counterparts from Cyprus and Egypt.

Agreements with and arrangements with Greece

  • 2019 - Working Holiday Visa Arrangement
  • 2008 - Agreement on Social Security
  • 2005 - Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters
  • 1991 - Extradition Treaty
  • 1981 - Agreement on Cultural Cooperation
  • 1971 - Air Services Agreement

Texts of bilateral agreements are available at the Australian Treaties Database.

Public diplomacy

Greece and Australia share strong community ties. There are Greek community and cultural centres, clubs and associations in most Australian cities. Melbourne is a Sister City to Thessaloniki.

The Australian Embassy in Athens actively promotes Australian culture in Greece. Activities include promoting Indigenous culture and art, Australian film-making and Australian architecture.

Numerous universities in Australia offer Greek language, history and culture studies. The University of Sydney has a Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies, where students study and research Greek language, tradition and history.

The Greek Orthodox Church in Australia is headquartered in Sydney and plays an important role in philanthropic and educational work. There are a number of schools in Australia affiliated with the Archdiocese.

Australian Embassy in Athens

Facebook: Australia in Greece

Twitter :@AusAmbAthens

Economic diplomacy

In 2019, two-way merchandise trade between Australia and Greece was valued at $336 million. Australian exports to Greece totalled $35 million. Australia’s principal exports were: non-ferrous waste and scrap; starches, inulin & wheat gluten; alcoholic beverages; and fruits and nuts.

Goods imported from Greece to Australia were valued at $301 million. Major imports from Greece were: vegetables; medicaments (including veterinary); cheese and curd; and cereal preparations.

In 2019, the export of Australian services to Greece was valued at $92 million, while services imports from Greece totalled $750 million. Services trade consisted mainly of personal travel and transport services.

Australia's stock of investment in Greece in 2019 totalled $481 million. Investment in Australia from Greece was $192 million.

Greece trade/economic fact sheet [PDF]

Australia continues to seek opportunities to promote Australian business and raise awareness of potential benefits of increased trade between Australia and Europe, including Greece. This work has intensified followed the launch of Australia-EU FTA negotiations in June 2018.

More information about the Australia-EU FTA.

Business

Greek companies with business interests in Australia include Apivita (cosmetics), Dodoni (dairy), Intralot (gaming), National Bank of Greece (finance), and METKA (renewable energy).

Australian companies with business interests in Greece include ResMed (medical equipment), CSL Limited (pharmaceuticals) and Kourispower (hydroelectricity).

The Australian Embassy in Athens promotes Australian trade and business in Greece.

Austrade’s Warsaw Office is responsible for Greece.

Travel

See Smartraveller for information on travelling to Greece.

Back to top