Anna Stamou is Responsible for Marketing and Public Relations to the Muslim Association of Greece, Coordinator of the Organization’s communication contacts with media, organization of meetings , events , gatherings , and social activities. She is also Director of the cultural center IBN SINA Avicenna Athens, and activist for Palestine, having participated in the ”Ship to Gaza”.
1. What will be the first priority for you upon election in the European Parliament?
There are some crucial issues concerning Greece right now that cannot allow me put my agenda, concerning matters of equality, freedom in religions and the consequences of the crisis on the greek population as humans, supporting fully the program of Eco Greens on Social Justice and Solidarity. My short term first priority is to fight against the planned destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons in the eastern Mediterranean. This will mean a severe environmental damage to my country, so it is important to put this on top of the list and I surely hope to be solved fast in order to proceed with the deepest matters that affect us.
2. What is your opinion on detention centers for illegal immigrants? Is there any viable alternative? Are human rights breached?
The detention centers in Greece is an inhumane measure that was presented as the inevitable solution for accommodating the non documented immigrants, when there was never a specific and decent immigrant policy in Greece. If there was an immigrant policy as it should, then there would be no need to have those centers. The conditions of living there is against human dignity and embarrasses our culture. There are alternatives but is hard to analyze in a few lines. A team work is needed, away from narrow political benefits and there are dignified and feasible alternatives.
3. Do you believe that the only path for the EU is austerity?
The austerity deprives of the economies the ability to recover. Yes, the figures are improving and this is positive in a virtual world but since we are dealing with people, efforts, years of struggling, labor rights, we do not believe that austerity is the solution. On the contrary we must start producing what we need and above all redefine what we need to consume. We are a country with wonderful landscape and thousands of acres of fertile soil, yet we are not using our resources as we should. This is how political ecology functions and changes the mindset that present us the austerity as the desperately last solution before the total economic collapse.
4. What about youth unemployment in the EU? Is there any effective strategy to tackle this issue in national and European level?
The whole program of European Green Party and the Eco-Green Party of Greece have a solid program of social justice and solutions for fighting unemployment. Some basic conditions are to improve the social security and welfare system in Greece and launch new educational programs for the unemployed to be able to get training to decent jobs, maybe on a new field of skills , but accordingly with the demands of our today’s life.
5. Too many candidates for the European Parliament elections, but too few concrete policy proposals. Is this something we need to be concerned about?
I am happy to participate in the Eco Green party, member of the European Green Party, because the policy proposals and the whole program is so specific, concrete and proven by researches, not wishful thoughts. Actually in Greece the Eco-Green party has the most precise and well set program. We are proud to come with a feasible vision that asks the European citizens to take part to define his future ahead.
6. How do you evaluate the diplomatic intervention of the EU in the cases of Egypt and Syria?
The position of EU is controversial, because in Syria they support the revolution and in Egypt they support the military junta. I wish we could have some answers from Mrs Ashton who she has the best relations with the dictators and she enjoys vacations in Egypt next to the dead innocent protesters that cry for democracy. Unfortunately EU seems to adopt double standards to the Middle East Policies, seems like the foreign policy of Europe is not drawn by Europeans anyway, and the cases of Syria and Egypt together prove it clearly. The solution for Syria will come when all foreign forces lift their hands off Syria and let the Syrians alone to solve this between them.
7. According to your opinion, why EU-Turkey bilateral relations with reference to membership have been stalled?
My opinion is that the rich countries of EU would not like to have a Muslim country inside EU, even as a partner, not necessarily as a member, because this might jeopardize their individual interests, although I think that this cooperation would benefit EU.
8. The issue of the Muslim minority in Thrace, Greece, is again in the headlines. What is the situation and the challenges there?
It is very common to me that the Muslim Minority of Thrace comes in the headlines only when the elections are near and usually negative. We use to see articles that doubt about their identity, their will, their goals, only for vote fishing. This is the only time that they are visible and that is why the minority feels isolated and not equal with the rest of the Greek citizens. It is necessary to start talking for each other as equal all through the year, no matter what religion we have. I am not coming from the minority and this situation embarrasses me. We are all Greek citizens under the same constitution only with different religions.Dimitris Rapidis