Macedonian Human Rights Movement International
A Delegation from the EFA and EP visits Northern Greece

News Item Courtesy of the Rainbow Party

On Monday, November 20th, 2001, a member of the European Parliament, Mr. Mayol, along with Dr. George Nakratzas (political advisor of the European Free Alliance (EFA) on minority issues in the Balkans) as well as representatives of RAINBOW - Vinozhito (the political party of the Macedonian minority in Greece) visited the mayor of the municipality of Edessa (Voden), Mr. Siontras, in the region of Pella (Vodensko) in northern Greece.

On November 21st, 2001, the same delegation visited the municipalities of Florina (Lerin) and Amintaion (Sorovich) in the region of Florina (Lerinsko) and conducted meetings with the mayors, Mr. Alempakis (Lerin) and Mr. Theodoridis (Sorovich). Both regions are near the Greek - Macedonian border were the Macedonian minority in Greece lives.

During the meetings the delegation of EFA and especially Mr. Mayol had the opportunity to inform local leaders about the enlargement process inside the EU, the principles and the aims of the Greens / EFA group and the European principles and values on minority rights issues.

The delegation of EFA also visited the Macedonian villages of Lofoi (Zabrdeni), Vevi (Banitsa) and Ksino Nero (Eksishu) in the same regions.

Mr. Mayol and local leaders (some of them members of RAINBOW - Vinozhito) as well as local residents, had an opportunity to discuss the issue of human and minority rights comparing the situation in European countries such as Greece where the implementation of minority rights is more problematic than in other European countries.

The delegation also visited the lake of Vegorida (Ostrovo) in the region of Florina (Lerinsko) were an environmental catastrophe has taken place. The water of this lake is in continually being used by the "National Thermo-Power Industry" of the neighboring region. As a consequence the water level of the lake has fallen more than 25 meters in the last 15 years. The result is the virtual collapse of tourism and tremendous difficulties for the local fishing industry. The situation was also one of the topics for discussion between the delegation of EFA and Mr. Theodoridis, the mayor of the municipality of this region.

We appreciate the visit of Mr. Mayol as this was helpful not only for RAINBOW / Vinozhito but a clear sign of support for the Macedonian minority in Greece and EFA's solidarity with them in their peaceful struggle for recognition and respect of their minority rights.