Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Rebecca Harms, co-chairs of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament, and Greens/EFA MEP Nikos Chrysogelos today gave a press conference in Athens where they called for a different Europe and a different Greece. The press conference was moderated by Vula Tsetsi, Secretary-General of the Greens/EFA Group in the EP.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit urged all Greeks and Europeans to join up with the European Greens and to get involved in creative social and ecological movements in order to develop a radical and responsible dynamic that could "change Greece and Europe" as well as politics itself. He stressed the need for a movement that will push for reforms and fight the dysfunctional attitude that led our societies and the idea of Europe to the edge of the abyss.
Referring to the crisis, he underlined the need for an end to the blame-game in both Greece and Europe and for moving on towards discussion of solutions. The parties in power in Greece and Europe often talk in terms of TINA (There Is No Alternative). However, in politics, there are always alternatives; otherwise there is no democracy.
Daniel Cohn-Bendit also stressed the need for the state broadcaster ERT to proceed with the reforms adding that the government's decision to shut down ERT was undemocratic and totalitarian and that Europe should refuse to accept this decision.
Rebecca Harms discussed the role that Europe can play in bridging the gap between North and South. Regarding ERT she commented that reforms in a democratic country require public television. Despite the government's unfortunate choices, following her discussions with reporters and employees in ERT, she is optimistic about the future of public television in Greece.
Regarding her visit to the Amygdaleza detention centre she stressed that conditions have clearly worsened since her first visit in November 2012 and referred explicitly to the fact that the camp detains children in unacceptable conditions. Rebecca Harms stressed that the problem is not only Greek but also European and therefore requires solutions at European level.
Following her visit to the Chalkidiki gold mines, she underlined that one of the most beautiful forests of southern Europe will be destroyed. She stressed that mining activities will place a huge burden on the environment and questioned Greece’s decision to take the risk of destroying the forest and mountain just for the benefit of a single company (Eldorado).
Nikos Chrysogelos thanked Daniel Cohn Bendit and Rebecca Harms for visiting Greece. He stressed the need for change in Greece, the North, the South and the whole of Europe. He added that there is an alternative third way and that the current model is unsustainable - Greece should proceed with the necessary reforms but not without the involvement of individuals and societies, as people need to be involved in the changes. Regarding the crisis at ERT, he commented that it should remain a truly public broadcaster.
Nikos Chrysogelos also referred to the European elections and the symbolism of the Greens' visit to Greece in support of the concept of Europe; Greens want a democratic and green Europe with social solidarity. Concerning Greece in particular, he called upon people to overcome anger and resist populist calls or neo-Nazi ideology and instead move towards finding creative solutions.
Read here about “The call of Athens”:
See photos from the press conference here: