Tuesday

28th Mar 2017

Greece urged to 'take action' on neo-Nazi party

  • Doctors of the World in Athens say they treat one to six victims of racist abuse every week (Photo: SpaceShoe [Learning to live with the crisis])

Europe's human rights watchdog has said Greece should consider banning the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party for its violence, racism and hate-filled rhetoric against immigrants.

The Strasbourg-based Council of Europe says Greece needs to curb the activities of those who advocate racism and hate “including parties such as the neo-Nazi ‘Golden Dawn,' on which it should be possible to impose effective penalties or prohibition, if necessary.”

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The conclusions were among many made in a 36-page report on Greece released on Tuesday (16 April) by the council’s top human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks.

Muiznieks, who visited Greece in January of this year, says two people stabbed a Pakistani migrant worker to death in Athens a few days before his arrival. One of the assailants was linked to Golden Dawn.

Another migrant with severe wounds had the Greek Golden Dawn initials "XA" cut into his back.

The once fringe party shot to prominence in 2012 when it won seven percent of the votes in elections and sent 21 deputies to Greek parliament. It won 0.23 percent of the vote in the previous election.

Several Golden Dawn MPs have been involved in racist and violent attacks against immigrants, with the police documenting 17 such incidents between June and October 2012.

Among the more notable Golden Dawn deputies are Panayotis Iliopoulos and Georgios Yermenis.

Both had their parliamentary immunity stripped in October 2012 following reports they allegedly attacked migrant vendors near Athens in September. A number of stalls had been destroyed during their ‘inspection’ to root out undocumented traders.

"We did not break any stalls, it is just that some goods found themselves on the ground,” spokesperson Elias Kasidiaris at the time told Skai TV.

Kasidiaris’ immunity was also stripped after he was charged with robbery and causing bodily harm in a separate incident dating back to 2007.

“What is also particularly worrying is that from statements made by the party’s leadership and ideological documents available on its official website it is clear that ‘Golden Dawn’ is a party that is against parliamentary democracy, and treats it with contempt,” notes the Council of Europe report.

The group's current head is Nikolaos Michaloliakos who maintained ties with the leadership of the 1967-74 right-wing military junta in Greece. He was also convicted for involvement in terrorist bomb explosions in Athens in 1978.

Michaloliakos edited the Golden Dawn magazine when it first came out in December 1980 and has made a number of glowing references to Nazi Germany.

An article published in 1987 by Michaloliakos on white supremacy ends with "Heil Hitler!" written out in full capital letters.

While the anti-immigrant rhetoric is more extreme in the Golden Dawn party, it is not exclusive to that party.

Mainstream political faction, including prominent leaders like Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, have also made populist remarks regarding immigrants.

Samaras in November spoke of an on-going “recuperation” by the Greek authorities of city centres from irregular migrants who had “occupied” them.

Other statements are more direct.

In August, the Greek minister of public order and citizen protection likened the number of irregular migrants who had entered the country to an “invasion” and to “a bomb on the foundations of the society and the state.”

Greece, for its part, recognises that racism is a problem but describes it as a marginal phenomenon.

The government says it has taken significant measures to stop the hate crimes, including setting up an anti-racism prosecutor in Athens as well as some 70 anti-racist police units.

The government also notes, in a nine-page response to Muiznieks’ report, that dealing with groups like Golden Dawn which have legally found their way into parliament “is a complexity in itself for obvious reasons related to the function of democratic polity."

MEPs set out to give posted workers equal pay

A revision of the posted workers directive aims to make the single market fairer, but critics see efforts to root out "social dumping" as disguised protectionism.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of Chinese medicine

Can traditional Chinese medicine help the modern European patient? Malta thinks so, in a new agreement with China.

News in Brief

  1. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  2. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  3. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  4. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal
  5. EU majority against GM crops, but not enough to block them
  6. Turkish referendum voting starts in Europe
  7. Le Pen says she lacks election funds
  8. UN dinner for Cyprus leaders to restart stalled peace talks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans