On 10 June at 7 pm, just a week before the re-elections in Greece, a meeting will take place in Syntagma. You will not hear serious charges, nor will Molotov petrol bombs fly.
"We will be holding the flags of Greece and the European Union and balloons in the colours of the Greek flag with the message "We stay in Europe." When we gather, we will set off to Zappeion hall, which bears a strong symbolism," Antonis Kouroutakis and Michalis Risvas said.
They are two of the organizers of the initiative that appeared in the social media and drew the interest of many Greeks. GRReporter contacted them in London, where they are studying at present. Antonis is a lawyer and a doctoral candidate at Oxford University. Michalis is studying there too.
Who are you and how was the idea born?
We are all young people living, studying and working in Greece, Sweden, Italy and Britain. Some of us spend much of our time abroad, where we read the publications in the local press. In our contacts with people abroad, we have felt a hostile attitude that cannot be felt by the Greeks, who do not read the foreign press.
Recently, not only publications, but also university professors and leading figures in the European Union have also supported the view that Greece's exit from the euro area is more than possible. Because we saw the clouds gathering and it has bothered us seriously, we decided to organize a meeting to express the persistence of Greeks to keep our country within the European Union and the euro area.
At the same time, we ourselves have assessed that if Greece leaves the euro area, the situation in the country would be disastrous at least for the next few years. So, we decided to organize the event to show the Greek politicians that we do not care about the policy they will pursue. We just want to tell them that we believe we are part of Europe; we feel Europeans and want to stay there. Furthermore, we want to send a message to Europe, namely that the Greeks do not want to leave the European structures. We want to tell them to support us and to change their politics.
Has any political party attempted to contact you?
We do not stand for or against any party. This is not our task. Both the organizers and all who support this initiative, we have different political, ideological and political positions. We believe that the minimum consensus in politics today should be the European perspective of our country. From there on, all other political, social and other positions stated in the programmes of political parties are acceptable. They must exist in a democratic country to allow people to choose freely provided that they ensure the framework, which is the European perspective.
One of our main principles is that our initiative is non-partisan. Political parties and local government proposed that we participate as organizers but we have firmly refused. We wanted to preserve the core principle that distinguishes our initiative from all others.
If many people come on Sunday, will this initiative continue and in what way?
Our only aim is to provoke a discussion. On our website, we have set some questions as topics for discussion, for example "why stay in Europe" and "what we want to change in Europe," where anyone can write their opinion within a fruitful dialogue.
Actually, the first thing is that we want to stay in Europe. Then, there are things that we want to change in it. We do not intend to do anything else. We hope the meeting will go off well and also the things for the country and we hope too that we will not have to do anything else.
What we found missing from Greek political life is not only logic, but also consensus. Our goal is to create a common ground for consensus to be imposed by the people in order for political parties to be able to cooperate on this ground and do the best for the country.
We believe that all parties want the good of Greece and no one wants to hurt it. Therefore, we believe that the European future of the country could be the starting point of consensus.