Greek President warns of real threats to democracy

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Screen Shot 2017 09 14 at 10.30.44 am

The President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos gave a keynote speech on Wednesday at the Athens Democracy Forum where he warned of the dangers and threats to democracy.

Pavlopoulos focused on the history of common European culture and the three main dangers to contemporary democracy in his speech titled "At the cradle of the European culture: The symbolisms of 'Mourning Athena'", which was delivered at the Athens Democracy Forum on Wednesday.

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Starting from the Relief of the 'Mourning Athena', one of the most famous sculptures from the Athenian Acropolis, he said it reflects the irreplaceable and authentic symbols of the ancient Greek spirit that can inspire even more the modern Man in order to "defend his destination in his course towards the future".

He then highlighted what he perceived as the three major dangers to democracy, which "eat away at contemporary culture":

-The global threat from Jihadist terrorism and the need to resist and defend freedom, through the solidarity of the people

-The various groups which were created by the crisis, which reach the fringes of Nazism and Fascism, and aim at the demolition of democracy and human rights.

-The domination of economics on the institutions, whereby, in the name of economic success, "they operate outside the institutional frameworks endangering the social state and at the same time creating enormous social inequalities."

Speaking at the forum also was former secretary general of the United Nations and founder and chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, Kofi Annan who noted there is a deficit of trust in people towards the institutions and the political system

"Democratic freedoms have been in decline for 11 consecutive years," he said, adding that election turnout is low, which shows that people's trust in political parties and institutions is diminishing.

"We must cherish and protect democracy or it'll be lost for future generations," he added, noting the need to be vigilant.

Annan cited Aristotle in his speech who said that when wealth is in the hands on the few there might be disorder, while a large middle class is the backbone of democracy.

"The governments seem weak towards global markets. Some people were saving banks while people were losing their homes," he said with a reference to the 2008 economic crisis in the U.S.

Annan said democracy is the only political system that brings sustainable development and peace, noting that elections are an integral part of democracy, in which citizens must be more involved and not be removed.

GCT Team

This article was researched and written by a GCT team member.