Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
Succesful International Panel Discussion on minorities in Greece Held in the European Parliament

European parliament Macedonian and Turkish minorities unrecognised and ignored in Greece

Florina/Lerin - April 21, 2008 - On Thursday 17 April 2008 an international panel discussion was held in the European Parliament on the Ignored Minorities of Greece: Western Thrace Turks and Macedonians. The conference was very well attended and received much publicity in the press in the days leading up to the event.

The conference was chaired by Hans Heinrich Hansen, the President of the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN). After opening speeches from Nelly Maes, the President of the European Free Alliance - European Political Party, Halit Habipoglou, President of the Federation of Western Thrace Turks in Europe (ABTTF) and Petros Kazias, a member of the Central Council of EFA-Rainbow the following presentations were made:

Kinga Gal, MEP, the Vice Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Human Rights spoke about the protection of minorities in Europe.

Asst. Prof. Dr. Halim Cavusoglu made a speech on the Western Thrace Turkish Minority and the Victims of Article 19 of the Greek Citizenship Code.

Petros Kazias of the European Free Alliance - Rainbow made a presentation on the ethnic Macedonian minority of Greece.

A statement from Lazslo Tokes MEP was read out in which he offered to mediate between representatives of the two minority groups and the Greek government.

Next, Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor spoke on the tolerance of intolerance of minorities in Greece.

The final presentation was made by Boriss Cilevics who spoke on Council of Europe standards and minorities in Greece.

The presentations were followed by a interesting discussion in which a range of views were expressed. EFA-Rainbow regrets that some present wanted to manipulate the event for their own political purposes.

The EFA-Rainbow was pleased that the event was attended by a number of MEPs and also by a representative of the Permanent Representation of Greece to the European Union. In this connection, EFA-Rainbow again call upon the Greek governemnt to begin a dialogue between representatives of the Macedonian and Turkish minorities to discuss all unresolved issues.

The closing remarks of the conference were made by Mikel Irujo Amezaga MEP of the Greens/EFA Group. The EFA-Rainbow would like to thank Mr Amezaga and his staff for all their hard work in organising the conference.

The Press Office
EFA - Rainbow