Press Release Regarding Rainbow/Vinozhito's First Congress
June 02, 2004
|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
(Evropaiki 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
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