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Macedonian Minority Party to go to Court Over Greek Allegations

December 6, 2005

Florina - Lerin, by Georgios N. Papadakis

EFA-Rainbow, the Macedonian minority party in Greece is planning to register a complaint in the Greek courts against a Greek diplomat and his superiors (Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs) for libel. In a press release issued yesterday, the party states that it can no longer tolerate continuous, unsubstantiated and defamatory allegations from Greek officials, claiming that EFA-Rainbow’s main goal is secession from Greece and that there is a close co-operation with the Republic of Macedonia to achieve it.

According to EFA-Rainbow, it is an excuse from Greece seeking to justify the country’s counterproductive attitude towards its Macedonian minority.

The allegations against EFA-Rainbow were made in Paris by a Greek diplomat to the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Parliamentary Committee of the Council of Europe. Facing tough criticism, the diplomat stated that the few “slavophones” who live today in Greece have the right to speak their own language and teach it in private schools.

However, to date not a single private school in Greece offers courses in Macedonian, while all governments have so far refused to introduce the language into public elementary and secondary education in the regions where Macedonians live. In addition, Greece has not ratified the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, although it initially signed it in 1997.

In order to avoid any kind of dialogue regarding the issue of the Macedonian minority Greek officials both inside and outside the country have refused to meet with EFA-Rainbow representatives or other minority members.

After EFA-Rainbow was excluded from the scheduled meeting between its affiliate organization FUEN and representatives of the Greek Ministry of Education, the same happened in late November in Brussels. The President of EFA Mrs Nelly Maes and EFA-Rainbow requested a joint meeting with the Greek Ambassador in Belgium. The embassy agreed to a meeting with another Greek diplomat under the pre-condition that only Mrs Maes would be present. (Eurolang © 2005)

Related links:

Greek Helsinki Monitor
Macedonian Human Rights Movement International

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