In a special letter to all EFJ country-members, the Secretary General of the organization Ricardo Gutierrez informed that EFJ AM in Athens is cancelled. He explains the reasons for that: “The problem is PFJU disagrees with the EFJ naming policy regarding “Macedonia” (aka FYROM). In 2015, in Budva (Montenegro), the Annual Meeting decided the EFJ must use “Macedonia” and not “FYROM” for its external communication.
Despite the fact that EFJ and IFJ are using “Macedonia” since 2015 without any reaction from PFJU, the Executive Board of PFJU unanimously decided on Thursday morning to “call for the immediate harmonization of EFJ with the U.N. resolutions according to which any reference to the neighboring country will be under the name FYROM”.
The President of the Panhellenic Federation of Journalists’ Unions (PFJU), Dimitris Koubias, informed the EFJ on Thursday evening that PFJU is no more in a position to host the EFJ Annual Meeting in Athens, on 18-19 May, 2017:
“We regret that we had to uphold our position and not being able to overcome the overwhelming obstacles occurred, knowing that this will mean relocation of the Annual Meeting, as Ricardo has warned us,” wrote Mr. Koubias. The decision was taken unanimously on Thursday morning by the Executive Board of PFJU.
Such an harmonization would go against a decision of the EFJ supreme democratic body. So we suggested PFJU to submit a motion on the naming practice of the EFJ regarding Macedonia at the EFJ Annual Meeting in Athens. Unfortunately, our compromise proposal was not accepted. After a consultation with our contact persons in Greece for the organization of the EFJ Annual Meeting (Nelly Katsama and Yannis Kotsifos, who have been doing both a great job), it became clear that the EFJ will have no other choice than to relocate the Annual Meeting.
The Steering Committee is considering now several alternative options and will come back with a proposal of relocation (and new dates) in the next coming days.
In the meantime, can you please tell us if you booked flights which are not refundable.
The EFJ Secretariat is really sorry for the inconvenience, but as you can imagine, this unexpected situation is totally beyond our control, said the ЕFJ General Secretary at the end of his letter.