Pavlos Eleftheriadis is as Anglophilic a Greek as they come. His wife and children are British, and he is a professor of public law at Oxford. But the prospect of Brexit has altered Eleftheriadis’s view of Britain.

‘Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept that half of the society you live in is against the presence of Europeans,’ he says. ‘This came out very strongly, including from the prime minister herself. She said we have to stop the free movement of workers from Europe. It’s her primary objective. This wounds you. You wonder why they say this and...

Pavlos Eleftheriadis is as Anglophilic a Greek as they come. His wife and children are British, and he is a professor of public law at Oxford. But the prospect of Brexit has altered Eleftheriadis’s view of Britain.

‘Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept that half of the society you live in is against the presence of Europeans,’ he says. ‘This came out very strongly, including from the prime minister herself. She said we have to stop the free movement of workers from Europe. It’s her primary objective. This wounds you. You wonder why they say this and what led them to it.’

Eleftheriadis says that he’s never seen a hint of racism or prejudice in professional life. But he’s hedging against the attitudes of the next generation. This year, he’s taking a sabbatical, partly in order to acquaint his children with their Greek roots.

‘My children have Greek names. I’m not sure I want them to grow up here 100 percent British. I want them to be Greek, too…so they can have a choice in case things become very ugly in Britain.’

Brexit divides Britons, but a majority of Greeks found the 2016 referendum enormously satisfying. Many Greeks felt that Britain had dealt the EU the well-deserved punch on the nose that Greece was incapable of delivering.

In 2015, 62 percent of Greeks had voted in a referendum to end the harsh austerity policies the EU had demanded in exchange for emergency loans. Those loans kept the country solvent after 2010, and balanced the budget, which had a gaping 15.5 percent deficit in 2009. These were remarkable achievements, unprecedented in the postwar developed world. Equally unprecedented, though, were the side-effects.

Greece’s economy shrank by a quarter. Unemployment topped 27 percent. The cure was so devastating that, though Greece’s economy is now growing modestly, its population is in an accelerating decline.

The political humiliation was perhaps greater than the economic pain. The Eurogroup, the Eurozone’s informal gathering of finance ministers, dictated legislation to Greek parliament, and in 2011 forced a prime minister from office. The Eurozone crisis transformed the EU from a consensual confederation of equals to a two-tier theater. A German-led bloc of surplus countries dictated fiscal policy to Europe’s south.

In 2015, Greeks elected a radical left Syriza government. Syriza promised to demonstrate that Greek votes were a harder currency than Eurozone money, and that democracy did not depend on creditworthiness. It vowed to humanize EU fiscal policies without getting Greece expelled from the Eurozone. Syriza instead capitulated to its EU creditors, reversing the 2015 referendum result and accepting a third fiscal adjustment program.

When Theresa May promised to respect the British referendum result, despite its narrower majority, Greeks watched British defiance of the EU with bitterness and admiration. Now, with May’s government unwilling or unable to negotiate Brexit, Britain divided and the EU determined not to make endless concessions, the UK appears more vulnerable, as well as characteristically unprepared. This divides Greek sentiments. On the one hand Greeks, like other Europeans, have every material interest in the UK’s continued welfare. On the other, they’re fascinated to see whether the UK fares better alone than as part of the German-led bloc. The latest UK employment figures suggest optimism, despite the loss of some investment banking business.

EU Council President Donald Tusk has suggested that the EU could ‘consider a short extension’ to Brexit negotiations, conditional on Theresa May winning support in the House of Commons for her twice-rejected Withdrawal Agreement. If May gets her requested three-month extension before Britain formally leaves the bloc, this will be welcome news to the Greek government, which has expressed a strong preference for a departure negotiated with all EU members. If not, the EU faces the possibility of emergency sessions of the type that were held for Greece’s sake in 2012 and 2015.