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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 17-06-06

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM Tsipras interviewed by 'antivirus' on civil partnership, gender identity bills
  • [02] SYRIZA political secretariat expresses support for government efforts on debt

  • [01] PM Tsipras interviewed by 'antivirus' on civil partnership, gender identity bills

    The rights of same sex couples and the LGBTQI community were at the heart of an interview with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras published by the "antivirus" magazine ( on Tuesday, which focused on the civil partnership law passed by Parliament and why this had stopped short of same-sex marriage.

    Asked if his government had found it difficult to push the civil partnership agreement legislation through Parliament, Tsipras said that "society proved much further ahead than we had believed."

    "A progressive majority was formed in the Greek Parliament that traversed most of the parties horizontally and reflected the progress that our society has made as a whole," he noted. That single act of legislation, he added, had helped transform the lives of a great many people.

    "We did not strive for the governance of the country only to deal with the problems that resulted in the unprecedented crisis of recent years. Our goal was to try to change the lives fo all citizens, including in the 'small' and day-to-day issues. For Greece to become a modern European country in all things, not just the currency," he said.

    Asked why the government stopped at civil partnership and didn't proceed to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples, the prime minister said the government was taking things one step at a time. Too many "showy" actions that were hurried and ill-prepared entailed a risk of failure, he noted.

    Asked about the SYRIZA party's "cohabitation" with the right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) in Greece's coalition government, the prime minister said that there were differences on ideological issues but "also tolerance of our separate identities." He further pointed out that, in the case of the civil partnership law, some ANEL MPs had voted in favour.

    Pressed on the issue of Church-State separation and why this hasn't happened, Tsipras replied that "the terms used are sometimes important".

    "We can talk about the same exact thing using terms that are hurtful or terms that can be understood and accepted. When I talk with the Archbishop, therefore, I use the term 'distinct roles of Church and State' and I think we understand each other," he said.

    He also pointed out that a discussion on this issue has begun through the government's initiative to set up a committee of dialogue on revising the Constitution.

    "What we want is for this dialogue to not be restricted to the Parliament only and to begin a broad discussion, open to all citizens and social organisation," he said.

    He was also asked about a draft bill on gender identity unveiled by the government for a period of public consultation, finally satisfying a long-standing demand of the LGBTQI community in Greece. He noted that the legislation will allow those that don't identify with their birth gender to correct this with a minimum of bureaucratic procedures, and without mandatory medical or psychiatric evaluations.

    The draft legislation, if passed, will also allow individuals to change the sex on their identity documents through the fast, discreet and confidential process of voluntary jurisdiction, open to all Greek citizens that wish to change some detail of the identity information, without a judge having the power to set additional criteria.

    "I believe this is an important as well as fundamental step for modernisation but also deeper equality between all citizens. In this way we align ourselves with the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Charter of Human Rights. The question, of course, is why we are aligning ourselves with such a great delay," he added.

    These two acts of legislation were a debt owed not just to the LGBTQI community but "to ourselves, our ideas and our struggles for equality and justice," Tsipras said. The Greek State, he added, owned an apology to the thousands of citizens that it treated unequally and in some cases inhumanely for years and this was why he had apologised on behalf of the Greek State in Parliament when the bill of the civil partnership was passed.

    [02] SYRIZA political secretariat expresses support for government efforts on debt

    SYRIZA's political secretariat said on Tuesday it is supporting the government's efforts to achieve a clear solution on the country's debt load, following a meeting presided by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, which started shortly after 10:00.

    The meeting discussed extensively government work, the strategic reforms for growth, the educational reforms, changes in the "Kallikratis" administrative divisions plan, constitutional reform and the ongoing negotiations on Greece's debt.

    "We support the government's efforts and strategy for a clear solution for the debt that will restore access to the money markets," the political secretariat said in a press release.

    "The opportunity created by the positive momentum of the Greek economy for a definite overcoming of the crisis, should not be lost," it added, noting that Greece fulfilled its obligations and will conclude officially the remaining prior actions.

    "It is their ethical and legal obligation to launch the necessary decisions on Greek debt, which will create the conditions for the consolidation of stability, a dynamic and irreversible recovery and an exit to the markets as soon as possible, with sustainable conditions for our country," it said.

    Concerning recent statements by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the political secretariat said anticipating a postponement of decisions on debt and its participation in the Greek program do not constitute a positive contribution in finding a fair and mutually accepted solution.

    The party also reiterated its position that if the IMF postpones its decision on its participation and funding of the program and eventually decides against its involvement, "the coalition government of SYRIZA-ANEL will not implement the policy mix that the Fund demanded during the last negotiation."

    "It becomes evident once again that the IMF, no matter how much it wants to convince about the contrary, only demands the implementation of austerity 'reforms', while it retreats every time it has to discuss Greek debt," the party noted.

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