Greek Committee: first meeting

Thanks to the initiative of Giorgios Psathas, a federalist from Athens, who has managed to create around him a group of adherents and active sympathizers, the federalists could discuss with some important representatives of the Greek political, economic, and cultural world about the current federalist strategy. With three important events on the 28th November in Athens, it was presented the federalist action for the European Federation and for the relaunch of economy and employment, through a European special plan for sustainable development. The executives of the Athens’ New York College have participated actively to the fulfilment of this initiative on the organizational and political plan, especially the Director of communication and of public relations Aris F. Mattheou. With this event, Psathas wanted to consolidate the Greek federalist group and relaunch the action, together with Nikos Lampropoulos, member of the UEF Executive bureau, who participated actively to the initiative.

The initiative of 28th November was aimed at making the federalists and their political proposals known to mass media, political parties, cultural circles and young people. This event will be followed by the constitution of the Greek committee sponsoring the ECI on a European special plan for sustainable development, and by the request to the Greek MEPs to endorse the declaration for a European constituent relaunch.

Lucio Levi was present to represent the MFE (UEF Italy), and Alfonso Sabatino to represent AICCRE. Grazia Borgna of the Einstein Centre for International Studies (CESI), and Olga Vedovato member of the MFE Turin section, were also present.

The initiative was structured on three main events.

In the morning the press conference took place, chaired by Athanasios Papandropoulos, President of the European Journalists’ Association. In his opening speech he often underlined the necessity of a European action for relaunching a sustainable development, without which it is increasingly more complicated for the European citizens – especially in the most disadvantaged countries – to trust Europe and to feel part of the biggest peace project ever realised, among countries which had gone to war for centuries. But, he acknowledged, in order to make this project achievable, it is necessary to use the appropriate instruments of democratic legitimacy. Sincere Europeanist, he recalled his interviews with Altiero Spinelli. Lucio Levi, after analyzing the political – and not only economic – causes of the crisis, and after underlining that alongside the recovery measures, it is necessary to relaunch the economy and the employment, he showed the European federalists’ action proposals: the action for the relaunch of the constituent process and for the realisation of a European special plan for sustainable development. He observed then that the mass media can have a great role in promoting the European democracy, and he invited the public to collaborate with the federalists in diffusing the Europeanist information.

A broad debate followed. The federalists’ proposals have been discussed deeply by the mass media representatives during the debate. They aroused a general consensus, especially the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI), accounted as appropriate to fight the new xenophobe and nationalist trends, which often stem from degradation and poverty.

In the early afternoon a meeting was organized in the Parliament, with the MPs of the two major Greek political parties: Akis Gerontopoulos for Néa Dimokratia and Dimitrios Papadimoulis for Syriza, both members of the European affairs commission and former MEPs – from 1999 and 2004. They expressed a critical opinion about the Greek policies of the past, admitted the inadequacy of the national measures to relaunch the Greek economy in recession, but they also denounced the inadequacy of the current European structure in facing the crisis and globalisation. Greece made many mistakes – they maintained – but the settlement measures alone, even though necessary, depress economy in an irreversible way if they are not accompanied by some growth measures. It is necessary that Europe – starting from the Euro-group, which has a single currency – achieves the peace project of the Founding Fathers, of Spinelli’s Ventotene Manifesto, toward the Federation. It is necessary that Europe favours solidarity instead of egoism. Psathas gave them the documents about the ECI, and the declaration of a group of MEPs addressed to the European Parliament in favour of a European constituent relaunch. Lucio Levi, in his speech, underlined the importance of the engagement of the parties and of the European and national MPs for a European Federation, and asked to the MPs who were present to collaborate and share the federalist action.

In the late afternoon, in the seat of the New York College, the round table entitled “For a European plan for sustainable development. For the European Federation” took place. In the public there were some federalists, some representatives of the Greek political and cultural milieu, and around a hundred university students.

The topic has been introduced by Lucio Levi on behalf of the MFE and by Alfonso Sabatino on behalf of AICCRE. The debate was coordinated by Athanasios Papandropoulos, President of the European Journalists’ Association. Andreas Andrianpopoulos – former MP in the Greek Parliament, former Minister, former Mayor of Piraeus – and Athanasios Diamandopoulos – Professor of International Relations at the University of Athens – also took part to the debate.

Lucio Levi and Alfonso Sabatino stated again what they had maintained during the two previous debates.

They highlighted how the crisis’s worsening is the result, on the one hand, of the European political lack of competence in taking the necessary decisions in order to face the crisis itself, and on the other hand, of the powerlessness of the nation-state. They reaffirmed the urgency to give to the Union the necessary power and resources, and to go ahead toward the European Federation. They presented the federalist action proposals addressed to the Parliament and the Commission, and restated the importance for citizens and local administrators to use the instruments of participatory democracy created by the treaties, as long as other action tools, such as the action for a European Constitution. The latter should be ratified by a European referendum, at the same time of the next European elections. Sabatino recalled the difficulties of local administrations in facing the crisis, and the engagement of the Piedmont Regional Council in favour of a European Federation. On the topic of the difficulties faced by local authorities, former Mayor of Piraeus Andreas Andrianpopoulos stepped in. Athanasios Diamandopoulos recalled the process that Greece went through in order to have a Constitution. The debate that followed was broad, and it highlighted a substantial sharing of the federalists’ ideas and an engagement in achieving them.

Thanks to this event the group of Greek federalists has strengthened, and it reinforced or created some useful contacts for the upcoming action.

The Greek committee was finally created on 22th January 2013.

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