Greek President Prokopios Pavlopoulos stressed on Monday the need to eliminate the remnants of neo-Nazism ideology in Europe during his address over the official dinner held in honour of visiting Israeli counterpart Reuven Rivlin.
Pavlopoulos said Europe should defend humanism, democracy and freedom, noting that “it would be wrong to get caught up in a sense of complacency that, supposedly, the risk of nostalgia for Nazism belongs to the past”, adding that the experience of the European Union and its member states in 2017 confirms this argument.
“And to make it clearer: Election rallies over the past year in EU member states show that not insignificant Nazi remnants are lurking. They must get the answer they deserve, through policies that defend, on one side, humanism, democracy and freedom and, on the other hand, an economic perception, which marginalizes the impasse of austerity that causes great inequalities and leads, in a deliberate way, to the marginalization and impoverishment of Man,” he said.
Commenting on the catalytic impact of the war in the Middle East, and the ISIS crimes, the Greek president said they are “qualitatively similar to the Nazi atrocities”, adding that Greece and Israel “have a sacred duty to fight for the restoration of peace, as soon as possible in our wider area.”
He then called for a humane treatment of war refugees.
On his side, Rivlin expressed concern over the rise of neo-Nazi forces in Greece’s political scene and hailed the unwavering position of the president and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras against neo-Nazism.
The Israeli head of state mentioned economic sectors of cooperation between the two countries, noting on the perseverance of Jerusalem and Athens as the cities that created western civilization. Rivlin spoke of his country’s prominence in the startup sector, saying that every eight hours a new startup business is being created and its founders want to change the world. “It is something that makes us proud,” he said.
Connecting Greek and Israeli innovation, he said that the DNA of some Israeli startups is connected to Greek DNA and mentioned as an example companies that promote the smear test known as “Pap test” [invented by Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou] through mobile phones.
Mentioning his schedule in Greece, he said he will lay the corner stone for the Holocaust Museum, and plant a tree in their memory.