EFA strongly condemns Greece's continual destabilising and unfriendly behaviour (07/04/2008)
Greece's decision to veto an initiation to the Republic of Macedonia to join NATO is an irresponsible act motivated by its refusal to recognise the existence of a distinct Macedonian ethnic identity in the Republic of Macedonia as well as in Greece
The European Free Alliance (EFA) strongly condemns Greece's decision last week to veto an invitation to the Republic of Macedonia to join NATO. While EFA is appalled at Greece's decision, it is hardly surprising. Yesterday's shameful decision to veto the Republic of Macedonia is a continuation of Greece's destabilising behaviour in South Eastern Europe. Greece's decision was an irresponsible act motivated by its refusal to recognise the existence of a distinct Macedonian ethnic identity in the Republic of Macedonia and well as in Greece.
This reckless and unfriendly act by Greece is not in accordance with the principles that a European country is supposed to espouse. The decision of the Karamanlis government to deny a country entry into Euro-Atlantic structures because of an absurd objection to the country's rightful name is highly irresponsible and an anti-European act.
It is common knowledge that the source of Greece's behaviour on this issue is its continual and blatant refusal to recognise Macedonian identity, both in Greece and beyond. Indeed, Greece's aggressive behaviour on this issue is something not new to EFA. EFA was a witness to Greece's deplorable policy of rejecting the existence of ethnic Macedonian identity in Greece during a fact-finding visit to the country in 2006.
EFA continues to monitor the situation in Greece closely and is very familiar with the fundamentally anti-democratic behaviour of the Greek state in relation to EFA's member party, the European Free Alliance – Rainbow. EFA would like to ask, when Greece declares that there are no Macedonian and Turkish minorities in Greece, is this is accordance with the "spirit and principles of democracy, fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights and dignity" which Greece has pledged to respect?
When over the last decade, when Greek courts on multiple occasions have refused and continue to refuse to register cultural associations with the word "Macedonian" or "Turkish" in their names, are these acts in accordance with the European Convention for the Protection of Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, to which Greece is a Party?
When Greece continues to legally prevent ethnic Macedonian political refugees from the Greek Civil War from returning to Greece (see Law 106841 which allowed all those who were "Greeks by genus" to reclaim citizenship and Law 1540 of 1985 which allowed in those who were "Greeks by genus" to reclaim property), is this in accordance with the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, to which Greece is a Party?
It is time for the EU to do more on these issues. Being "UNITED in DIVERSITY" must not be simply declarative. The EU must be "UNITED in recognising DIVERSITY". A good start would be to demands that Greece acts like 21st century European country and end its shameful and destabilising policies on the Macedonian issue.
In practice, this means recognising the name of the Republic of Macedonia and recognising the Macedonian and other minorities in Greece.