EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE
European Free Alliance
in the European Parliament
Press Release - Brussels, 8.12.03
Greece Must Remain True to Olympic Ideals
- No Room For Intimidation and Threats
Nelly Maes MEP, The President of the European Free Alliance group
of MEPs has expressed her concern at the security situation in Greece
with regard to human rights and civil liberties following the forced
cancellation over the weekend of a political conference. The annual
congress of the Rainbow party, which represents the Macedonian minority
in Greece, was cancelled after repeated threats and intimidation
against individuals responsible for organising the event.
Nelly Maes, President of EFA in the European Parliament, has issued
a written statement in support of the Rainbow party. In it, Nelly
Maes criticises the failure to protect the process of democracy
and calls for the Greek government to ratify the European Convention
for the Protection of National Minorities - particularly in the
context of the forthcoming Olympic Games in Athens 2004 which have
the motto "For a civilisation of the civilisations".
The full text of the statement issues by Nelly Maes is copied below:
Is There a Place for Democratic Minorities in Greece?
In the name of the EFA (European Free Alliance) we would like to
express our concern regarding the difficulties of the Rainbow-Vinozhito
a member party of EFA - DPPE.
We are appalled by the fact that the congress of Rainbow was cancelled
twice owing to personal threats and pressure from the extremist
circles. In a fully democratic society any practices resulting in
political discriminations should be despised and prosecuted. We
are concerned by the fact that openly xenophobic, racist and neo-nazi
organizations are legal and their ideologies are tolerated in Greece
which is a member of a European Union. Such movements were involved
in intimidations that occurred in the city of Edessa / Voden where
the Rainbow - Vinozhito party was to hold its congress.
Unfortunately, owing to threats mentioned above the party was refused
any place in that town and therefore the congress had to be cancelled.
Our two letters to Greek Prime Minister Mr. Kostas Simitis, asking
for an assistance to the Rainbow party in preparation of the congress
as well as for safeguarding security to all the participants of
the event remained without any response. However, we would like
to express our hope that the Olympic Games which are to be held
in Athens in 2004 under a motto "For a civilization of the
civilizations" will give a positive impact on Greece to ratify
the European Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
and the Charter for Minority an Regional Languages.
We believe that this would enable the Macedonian national minority
in Greece to find its proper place within the Greek society and
to contribute in strengthening democracy in your country.
With the highest respect,
Nelly Maes, MEP
President, European Free Alliance
Vice -president Greens/European Free Alliance group in
Wiertzstraat, LEO 2C33, B-1047 Brussel
Rue Wiertz, LEO 2C33, B-1047 Bruxelles
Tel.: 32-2-2843040 / Fax : 32-2-2841771
Press Service of the Greens / EFA in the European Parliament
EFA Press Officer / Attache de Presse ALE
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