Press Release regarding the Congress
June 2, 2004
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Florina / Lerin
30 May 2004 marked the successful conclusion of the 1st Congress of
the Rainbow Party, which as of 26 March 2004 is a founding member of
the European Free Alliance (EFA). Henceforth, it will participate in
the Greek political arena with the name European Free Alliance-Rainbow
(Evropa?ki Eleftheri Symmahia-Ouranio Toxo / Evropska Slobodna Alijanca-Vinozhito).
Elections were held for the new Central Council, composed of twenty-four
(24) members, and for the expanded Political Secretariat, composed of
nine (9) members.
On behalf of the Central Council and the party members, the new Political
Secretariat wishes to commend the Greek government, the Hellenic Police
Authorities in Thessaloniki, and Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis,
personally, for granting the request of our party president Nelly Maes
and taking all the necessary measures to protect the Congress participants,
particularly our European guests, and facilitate its smooth proceedings.
A jarring note, however, in the behavior of the authorities was the
Nea Demokratia party deputy and current Prefect of Thessaloniki, Panayiotis
Psomiades, who prior to the Congress publicly stated inter alia that:
[It] is a flagrant violation of every principle of national
dignity, national consciousness and minimum sense of national pride
that our city agreed to host a Congress organized by Rainbow, an agency
known for its anti-national views, views that directly trigger our national
reflexes and offend Hellenic sensibilities everywhere on earth, particularly
those of Macedonians. For these reasons we deem these known circles
and their delegates undesirable in Thessaloniki."
We believe that the Prefect's statements gave neo-nazi elements the
green light to stage violent demonstrations. These remarks were an affront
to the city's democratically minded citizens, the Prefect's own faction,
as well as our country's Prime Minister.
EFA-Rainbow regrets that a member state of the European Union was forced
to take extreme security measures to protect the proceedings of a Congress
of a legally recognized European political party such as ours. We also
regret that, with very few exceptions (e.g. the NGO Greek Helsinki Monitor
and the leftist party AEKA-Thessaloniki), no other political parties
or organizations took a public stand against Mr. Psomiades' statements
and the violent protests by neo-nazi elements. This is proof of the
democratic deficit in Greece. We are also distressed by the fact that
Greece is the only country in the EU where neo-nazism, under the guise
of patriotism, is a legitimate form of political expression.
We hereby state our willingness to put our political efforts towards
assisting in the broader democratization and Europeanization of Greece.
We wish to add our presence by joining the political race and the process
of shaping a United Europe as our common homeland. We therefore ask
voters to support our candidates in the upcoming European Parliamentary
elections on 13 June 2004.
THE POLITICAL SECRETARIAT
EUROPEAN FREE ALLIANCE - RAINBOW