The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), as one of the leading voices for Macedonians worldwide, strongly condemns the comments made on July 2nd by Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, at the European Parliament.
“I ignore that the Macedonian language exists,” Samaras stated. “There are many things that the Communists have invented themselves, and I would not like to talk about it.”
UMD is greatly disappointed that an elected official of Greece would choose to use such caustic and divisive language.
In the early 1990s, it was Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, who was the architect and inventor of the so-called “name issue” that Greece has used as an excuse to block the European/Trans-Atlantic integration and economic development of Macedonia for the last 20+ years.
While the Republic of Macedonia aims to advance the efforts of a common and cooperative Europe, UMD believes statements such as these only works to set back the progress made to stop the discrimination and persecution of the Macedonian minority in Greece.
Prime Minister Samaras’ statement confirms the fears of many Macedonians that Greece’s political opposition extends beyond a simple name issue, but rather is oriented around a failure to recognize the history and culture of a distinct Macedonian language and identity.
On February 7, 2014, Eugenia Natsoulidou, Administrator of the Educative and Cultural Movement of Edessa, and at the time UMD Greece Representative, sent the Prime Minister a petition calling for the protection of the Macedonian language and culture of its community in Greece.
“The Macedonian-speaking population in Greece is indigenous to the land, and their Macedonian language holds a vital place in their hearts and minds. However, the people cannot defend themselves from the Greek government’s assimilation policies alone. For over 100 years, the Greek language has been forcibly imposed on us, and the state has tried to bring our ancestral linguistic heritage to extinction,” stated the petition.
UMD calls on the European Union to publicly express its disapproval of Prime Minister Samaras’ exclusionary language. It is time for the EU to put an end to the charade that Greece has made of its institutions and basic values, and to tell Greece that enough is enough. Until that happens, the EU will only embolden Greece to further deny the existence of a Macedonian nation and a distinct Macedonian language, thus failing to uphold the very values that are the basis of the Union’s creation and existence.