Greece and Italy’s Presidents come together on “OXI Day” to say no to Nazism and Fascism

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Greece’s huge “OXI” shouted by Greeks on October 28, 1940 remains forever current and must inspire the struggle to defend the European edifice against those 'nostalgic' for Fascism and Nazism, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Sunday in Thessaloniki, where he attended the October 28 military parade with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella.

Mattarella appeared at the parade in Thessaloniki, at the invitation of Greek Pavlopoulos, who later hailed his counterpart's presence.

"We are leaving behind what divided us. We are determined to defend Europe from the forces of populism and racism, bordering on Nazism, that want to destroy Europe," Pavlopoulos said. "We are determined never to let the revival of the nightmares that led to World War II happen again."

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Pavlopoulos went on to say, "History has proven, with irresistible evidence, that the great 'NO' of the Greek people on October 28, 1940, was and still remains, on extremely instructive and current terms a great 'YES' to freedom and democracy. And it is precisely this instructive topicality that must inspire us, above all, in the struggle to defend the European edifice against the extremely dangerous conglomerations of racist populism that undermine, openly and directly, its foundations and its global mission," Pavlopoulos said after the parade.

Mattarella's presence in Thessaloniki on Sunday was also a symbol of this struggle to defend Europe, he added, indicating that Greece and Italy are “stating our determination to fight against Nazism, Fascism and all such formations," he added.

A grand military parade was held in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, which included an air show by the Hellenic Air Force.

President Pavlopoulos later accompanied Mattarella to the Ionian island of Kefalonia, where they paid homage to the fallen Italian soldiers of the Acqui Division, who were massacred by German troops at the end of WWII.

In statements at the ceremony, Pavlopoulos underlined that Greece and Italy were determined to stand opposed and defend the European edifice against the "extremely dangerous anti-European formations" that were nostalgic for the days of fascism and Nazism so that Europe "never again experiences the nightmares of the past".

In joining his Italian counterpart in a highly symbolic gesture to commemorate the men of the Acqui Division, who fell victim to Nazi atrocities, Pavlopoulos added, "we prove that Greece and Italy are leaving behind the things that divided us in the past."

Italian President Mattarella said, "A new Greece and a new Italy were born from the resistance against Nazism and fascism. After the terrible wars of the last century, the European Union chartered a new course for the European peoples, cementing peace, friendship, and cooperation. This day marks our resolve to continue on this path and avoid any danger of repeating the mistakes of the past."