Taking immediate action on two worrying developments concerning the far-right in Europe, the European Jewish Congress held separate meetings with the Ambassadors of Greece and Bulgaria to the European Union, in Brussels, July 25th.
EJC President Pierre Besnainou asked both ambassadors to transmit the EJC’s protests to their respective governments concerning both an extreme-right party in Bulgaria that recently gained 8% of the vote in parliamentary elections and a pan-European neo-Nazi gathering that will be held in the Greece from September 16 – 18, 2005.
The first meeting was held with the Bulgarian Ambassador to the EU, Stanislav Daskalov, concerning “Ataka” a newly formed extreme-right party in Bulgaria that published a list of 1,500 prominent Bulgarian Jews on its website, shortly after its June 25th electoral victory where it stormed the parliament with almost 8 percent of the vote. President Besnainou voiced his concern about this incident, where the list of Jewish personalities was preceded by the following headline, “A plague infected, leprous and dangerous race, which has deserved to be eradicated since the day of its creation.”
Although the list was soon removed from the party’s website, Ataka – under its populist leader journalist Volen Siderov – nevertheless does not attempt to hide its virulent anti-Roma, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments from the domestic and international public.
Just this Thursday, the Socialist government failed to form a government cabinet after a narrow vote in the parliament – Ataka has called for new elections as a crisis looms over Bulgaria.
The EJC also met with Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the EU Constantin Chalastanis, regarding a pan-European neo-nazi gathering that will be held in the Peloponnesian peninsula. The meeting, which is published on the Internet (www.euro-fest.tk), is organized by the Greek extremist, neo-Nazi group “Chrissi Avgi”. (Golden Dawn) According to the Greek Press, the meeting will be also attended by representatives of neo-Nazi and fascist organizations from Hungary, the USA, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia-Montenegro, Sweden, Poland, Austria, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
The same day, President Besnainou had an additional meeting with the Israeli Ambassador to the EU, Oded Eran, to receive an update on Europe-Israeli relations and Prime Minister Sharon’s visit to France.
Besnainou was recently elected by the EJC General Assembly on June 26th in Paris.