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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-06-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Papandreou: Socialists fighting for humanity's survival

  • [01] Papandreou: Socialists fighting for humanity's survival

    The present day struggle of socialists goes beyond the effort to change society and is now a struggle to save humanity, Socialist International President and leader of Greece's main opposition PASOK party George Papandreou said on Monday.

    He made the statements while delivering the opening address at the 23rd SI Congress taking place in the coastal resort town of Lagonissi, southeast of Athens, over the next three days.

    "Today, unchecked forces in governments and companies restrict freedoms and rights. The fundamental paradox is that we are seeing the steady loss peoples' power and this is what is alienating politicians from the citizens," he underlined.

    Papandreou referred to what he called a massive concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, who were not answerable to anyone, while global markets were being controlled a multinational oligopolies.

    Alongside this, there was a concentration of power in the mass media, while democratic institutions and political parties were "hostages" of big business and the media, he added.

    According to Papandreou, this led to corruption and bad governance and situations like that seen today in Greece, which in turn alienated younger generations and led them to either apathy or extremism.

    "The historic role of social democrats is far from over, it is today more necessary than ever. The answer to the problems is to deepen democratic practices," the SI President stressed.

    He particularly emphasised the roles of women, young people, minorities and immigrants in this effort, noting that they "questioned the power held by others and demanded that it be shared". Papandreou proposed further strengthening these groups within the SI and socialist parties, saying they would act as a "source of fresh oxygen for the health of the parties".

    Referring to the SI's past record of supporting human rights and freedoms, Papandreou said that this respect for freedoms differentiated socialists from their conservative opponents.

    "Today we cannot fail, because we are at a turning point," he emphasised.

    The SI annual Congress opened on Monday morning, with the participation of 650 representatives of 140 parties from approximately 100 countries throughout the world, among them 55 leaders of socialist and social-democrat parties and some 25 senior government officials.

    The main themes of discussion at the three-day 23rd SI Congress are climate change, the need for global democratic governance, world economic growth, the migration, peace and the resolution of conflicts, the food crisis, and the worldwide social democratic movement.

    The Congress is also slated to re-elect George Papandreou to the SI presidency for a second consecutive term.

    CAPTION: George Papandreou addressing Monday the opening session of the SI. (Photo ANA-MPA/K.Mavrona)

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