EFA recalls the European Commission to ensure respect for minorities in Greece

The European Free Alliance recalls the European Commission its duty to ensure the respect for minorities rights in Greece as it is the guarantor of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. In this sense, EFA regrets the fact that nor the European institutions nor the Greek government have taken substantial political action to tackle the continuous rights violations affecting the Macedonian and Turkish communities in the country.

In a letter to the Vice-president of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, dated on 26 October 2018, some EFA members of the European Parliament urged the European institutions to undertake institutional and political action to stop hate speech and violence against the Macedonian minority in Greece, and guarantee the restoration of rights to European citizens belonging to minorities.

On 7 June 2019, Commissioner for Justice Věra Jourová responded to EFA’s request by referring to “the lack of general power as regards minorities”. Jourová also states that “it is for the member states to ensure compliance with their constitutional order and their obligations under international law”, despite the European Commission being the guarantor of the enforcement of the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights in all member states.

EFA MEPs decided to send a letter after members of the Greek far-right party Golden Dawn led an intimidatory demonstration that aimed at injecting fear and boycotting an annual cultural event of folkloric Macedonian dances organized by Vinozito-Rainbow, a Greek Macedonian political party member of EFA, in the Greek town of Lerin.

Days before the event, members of Vinozito-Rainbow received several threats that were reported to the police authorities together with a request for protection. Regardless the overwhelming presence of police officers, Golden Dawn members managed to disturb the celebration of the event and openly expressed hatred speech against the people participating in it.

As EFA has been pointing out, aggressive actions to minorities in Greece have become a recurrent problem that does not only not seem to be solved, but it does not even seem to be addressed by any political nor judicial authority, be it Greek or European. Nevertheless, EFA will keep defending minorities rights in the EU together with our member parties, by demanding both the European institutions and the member states to act responsibly and protect diversity.