GREECE | Golden Dawn begins chasing Bulgarian nurses
Source: grreporter.info Tuesday, 19 February 2013, 12:51
Four women from Bulgaria were forced to leave the hospital in Tripoli, Peloponnese, a few days ago after dozens of Golden Dawn’s members rushed into it to find foreign women working as nurses there.
It turned out later that the "strong" boys in black shirts had entered the Panarkadiko hospital with the permission of its director Eleni Siourouni. The next day, she even organized a joint press conference with members of Golden Dawn, during which she said, "We had a very good conversation in the right direction. Our path is common. We are all of the opinion that it is not possible for people who get paid by illegal means to work in hospitals".
In addition, the director said, "Our goals of the hospital and those of Golden Dawn are common. We talked to see what we could do to limit this problem and not break the law. The moment the law does not entitle us, we in our capacity of administrative or medical staff can check the documents of anyone who is by the bed of any patient".
These were precisely the words that provoked the sharp criticism of Minister of Health Andreas Likourendzos, who announced the immediate dismissal of Eleni Siourouni. The statements of the head of the Medical Association in the Arcadia area on the case were particularly acute too.
GRReporter contacted the reporter from the local news website Eleni Traka whose report brought sharp attention to the scandal.
"It all started with the local union of nurses, who often complain of foreign women, who undercut their fees and actually prevent them from working. I must stress that the union has filed a complaint at the Workers' Centre in Arcadia, the National Insurance Fund, the office combating financial crime and some national media without any result".
The journalist stated that Golden Dawn had issued a written communication on this issue two days before the rush into the hospital. "On Wednesday evening, we suddenly learned that members of Golden Dawn from Tripoli had rushed into the hospital, where they found four women from Bulgaria, who were by the beds of patients. Some said they were relatives or spouses and others - that they were neighbours, who were taking care of the elderly at their homes and were in the hospital for this reason".
Eleni Traka said that she had no information about the women having been expelled by violent means.
"The next day, the same people went to the hospital to meet with director Eleni Siourouni and discuss this issue. I went to her office after the meeting and asked her to make a statement on the developments of the previous evening and on the illegal work, if it actually existed. She said that they had had a common goal with Golden Dawn: to put an end to illegal work. The director said that some inspections had been carried out in the hospital, which had been interrupted because their continuation would have violated personal data privacy. For his part, the representative of Golden Dawn said the party would raise the issue in parliament because according to them, the work was illegal, as the foreign women were not paying taxes in Greece, while taking jobs in times of high unemployment rates in the country. He pointed out that the problem was not the origin of the women but the loss of money due to unpaid taxes".
The journalist criticized the hospital for not securing control at the entrance of the hospital due to which anyone could enter freely. "The members of Golden Dawn told us that nobody prevented them from entering. I cannot comment on the substance of the issue, i.e. whether Greek nurses have the right to enter or not, because I do not know if the women by the beds of the patients are really their wives or whether they work and are paid completely legally. The meeting of the already former director with representatives of Golden Dawn itself is not wrong in my opinion, since it was with a parliamentary political force. What worries me is the complete lack of security as regards who enters the hospital. Someone should have stopped and checked the members of Golden Dawn at the entrance".
According to Eleni Traka, the attitude of the local community towards the actions and statements of the director of the hospital and the members of Golden Dawn rushing into the hospital is negative. "What caused the strongest reaction was the phrase "a common goal with Golden Dawn". The local community was annoyed by the fact that the director of the hospital had said that she had common views with this party".
She pointed out that not only nurses, but also other groups had turned to Golden Dawn for help. "This is the only party that gives free food. The organization of Golden Dawn in our region has announced that the unemployed can turn to them to find them jobs".
She said that many people sought such assistance and that the fact that Golden Dawn had received one of the highest election results precisely in Arcadia was not just a coincidence. "I do not know the exact reason, but it is a fact".
On the other hand, there are no recorded cases of xenophobia and racist violence in the region. "Here, we do not have cases of attacks against immigrants, whether they are legal or illegal. Anyway, I think that the majority of foreigners who are living and working in Arcadia are legal. The majority of them are employed in agriculture; they have been living here for 15-20 years and are already integrated into society".