Espace Constantine Karamanlis to open in Brussels on Monday
The European Parliament has honored the late Constantine Karamanlis, a Greek leader of international renown and a true Europhile, who managed, after marathon trips and meetings with other European leaders, to get Greece into what was then the European Economic Community in May 1979, alongside the other six member states. The official opening of Espace Constantine Karamanlis takes place on Monday, September 8, at 4.30 p.m. in Brussels at the Altiero Spinelli building in the European Parliament. The space, which connects the offices of the commissioners and deputies, has been named in honor of the Greek prime minister and president who dominated the political scene for 50 years and played an important part in the creation of a unified Europe. Karamanlis won the Charlemagne Prize for his services, and the speech he made on that occasion, 20 years ago in September 1983 in Strasbourg (photo), on the role of a powerful Europe in the contemporary world is a point of reference for the European dream and its evolution, which we are experiencing now through Economic and Monetary Union, with another 15 countries having achieved accession, and Turkey still knocking at the door. The invitation to the opening comes from Patrick Cox, the Irish president of the European Parliament, who has kindly asked the valued colleagues and many good friends of the late leader from Proti, Serres, in northern Greece, to attend. The invitation includes all European deputies and commissioners, both past and present. The Greek contingent was organized by the administration of the Constantine Karamanlis Foundation, which will be represented by its president, state deputy Petros Molyviatis, vice president, deputy and beloved younger brother of Karamanlis, Achilleas Karamanlis, general manager and Academy member Constantine Svolopoulos and other colleagues. Several politicians from Greece who have been invited will also speak at the opening: Parliamentary Speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis, Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos. The first speaker will be Cox, followed by Wilfred Maartens, president of the European Popular Party (EPP) and Hans-Gert Poettering, president of the EPP deputies in the European Parliament. The main speaker will be New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, who will speak on the supra-party contribution of the late Karamanlis and his belief in a united Europe. Also present will be former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyianni, former ND President Miltiades Evert, former deputy and president of the Constantinos Karamanlis Institute for Democracy, Yiannis Varvitsiotis, former deputy Yiannis Palaiokrassas, the first Greek EEC Commissioner Giorgos Kontogiorgis, the diplomats who accompanied Karamanlis on his trips to European capitals and Kathimerini columnist Stamos Zoulas. Many friends will be there, including the Stratou family, Thanassis Nikolitsas and wife, Alexandra Kanellopouou, and Fleurette Karadonti from the Goulandris Institute on Andros. And of course, members of the Karamanlis family and local officials from Serres will attend. This trip to Brussels is a real roll call of the colleagues and friends of Karamanlis. The honor which the European Parliament has paid to Karamanlis will keep the memory of his work and his personality alive. Two portraits in relief of Karamanlis will hang permanently in the Espace Constantine Karamanlis, where the Karamanlis Foundation has organized a weeklong exhibition of photographs of other leaders. Helbi, who has covered events all over Europe, has been invited and will attend to get the rest of the story.