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SAE board meets with Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis

The World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) Presiding Board headed by the organization’s President Stefanos P. Tamvakis had separate meetings in Athens today with Prime Minister of Greece Costas Karamanlis, SYN President Alexis Tsipras and the KKE Parliamentary Group.

In the meeting with the Prime Minister, which was held in a cordial atmosphere in the presence of Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, the President and the Members of the Board referred to SAE’s development and issues of great concern for Hellenism around the world.

The Prime Minister congratulated President Tamvakis and the Board members for their work and stressed characteristically that acknowledging SAE’s contribution in practice the government honours the Greek expatriates and, as it has already been proven, offers its unreserved support to SAE and its organisational improvement.

He referred specifically to the initiatives undertaken in support of national issues using as an example SAE’s mobilisation ahead of the NATO Summit in Bucharest and the endeavours launched on issues concerning Youth, Education and Culture.

“The World Council of Hellenes Abroad is the main axis of a joint national effort to promote and support Hellenism around the world,” the Prime Minister stressed, referring to the “initiatives for closer relations between Greek expatriates and local societies in their countries of residence thus consolidating the role of Hellenism as the bridge of friendship between Greece and the rest of the world.”

Referring to the 2007 SAE Annual Report, Karamanlis stressed that the “initiatives aimed at developing and strengthening the Greek expatriate relations are being fruitful and fill us with optimism for the future. It is important that these initiatives concern the societies in their countries of residence, relations among Greeks per continent as well as relations with the homeland and their place of origin.”

The Prime Minister also referred to the executive law on SAE sponsored by the government through which “past experience was put to use while imperfections and omissions were spotted and cured allowing SAE to assume its current representative and effective role.” On the presidential decree setting the criteria and procedures for representation in SAE’s assembly meeting the Prime Minister assured that it has entered its last preparation stage underlining the constructive contribution of SAE’s bodies in its drawing up.

On the major issue – as he characterized it – of the Constitution’s executive law concerning of the voting rights of eligible voters outside Greece, the Prime Minister stressed:

“The draft law was prepared timely and forwarded to you and the parliamentary parties. I am aware of the different viewpoints and considering that, according to the Constitution, a strong majority of 200 MPs is necessary for the draft law in question to be passed in Parliament, a convergence of views is imperative.”

For this reason the competent ministers of interior and foreign affairs and political party representatives will meet within the next few days to discuss the expatriate vote issue and have a draft law drawn up as soon as possible, taking under consideration SAE’s positions. “The intention is to have the effort completed by the end of 2008,” Karamanlis said.

On his part, the SAE President stressed, among others, that the vote will be yet another contribution to Greece by Hellenism around the world.

“We do not wish to become politicized. You realize that voting will make relations even stronger while offering a chance for yet another great service to our country,” Tamvakis stressed, pointing out that SAE’s proposal for the election of Greek expatriate MPs can materialize through election constituencies of the Omogenia and the occupation by Greek expatriates of three of the Parliament seats filled from nationwide party lists on a top-down basis and based on the proportion of the total vote each party received.

• Fotos from the meetings:

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