Pressemitteilungen

Second attempt to evict the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko in Athens, Greece

20 February 2020

Second attempt to evict the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko in Athens, Greece

We received a notification letter from Hellinko S.A. on 11/02/2020, also addressed to the Ministry of Health notifying also the Ministries of Development & Investments, Industry & Commerce and the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund S.A.

The letter clearly states that the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko must immediately vacate the building in which it is housed since December 2011 and which was granted by the Municipality of Helliniko-Argyroupolis.

This letter does not state that Helliniko S.A. had already tried to evict our clinic, again, in May 2018 sending us directly an eviction letter. At that time making their letter and intentions public had as a result the rousing of our patients, citizens and organizations in Greece and abroad. You can read the press release that was published at that time by our clinic at the following link: “Sudden Death for Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko We say NO and “we will not go quietly into the night….” [1]

There were protests outside the Greek embassies in Belgium and Germany. Members of the European Parliament, academics, scientist, free clinics in Greece, personalities such as Mikis Theodorakis showed their support and forced Helliniko S.A. and the Greek Government to state that a solution was possible so that our free clinic could continue its operation in its current location until they would find us a suitable location with easy access to our patients. The press release of the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko entitled “Solidarity is the strongest weapon – Our mission continues” [2] summarises the actions of the victorious solidarity movement that protected our clinic.

Photo of a demonstration of CGSP ALR, against the eviction attempt on May 2018, outside the Greek embassy in Brussels.

Mayor of Helliniko-Argyroupolis Mr. Giannis Konstantatos, a member of Helliniko S.A. till today, who was appointed at this position in 2015 by the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund S.A. [3] had promised that “the Municipality of Helliniko-Argyroupolis has the capability to house the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko”. [4]

There is also the explicit commitment of Mayor Konstantatos and the investor LAMDA Development S.A. that the clinic not only won’t be moved but it will be “upgraded”.  Mr. Odysseas Athanasiou, CEO of LAMDA Development S.A. at the presentation of the project in the hotel Grand Bretagne in June 2014 stated that “… the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko will stay and operate as it is currently doing in even better facilities that will be granted to it in the same area.  We wish to help in anything that will be needed.  We are on their side and I invite them to a meeting even next week” [5]

Now Helliniko S.A. and the current Government with the support (?) of the Municipality of Helliniko-Argyroupolis is trying to invalidate these statements and actually send away dozens of volunteers, throw away thousands of boxes of medicines, formula and milk, destroy a fully operational dental office with its equipment, cardiology office with ultra sound equipment and all supplies and equipment in its premises donated by people.  In the same letter of Helliniko S.A. addressed also to the Ministry of Health there is no mention of what will happen to our patients that visit our clinic every month.

They want to evict us without giving an alternative solution, they want to demolish a 200 square meter building and the clinic it houses and which supports outcasts of the Greek society which were created by the Economic Adjustment Programs that were supported by the Greek Governments from 2010 until today.  They want to eliminate a community of volunteers, a community of solidarity, with thousands of supporters to our work from Greece and abroad that even provides with medicines and supplies Public Hospitals, Public Institutions, nursing homes, settlements of refugees and immigrants and every other citizen that is desperately looking for medicines that are missing from the Greek market.

We ask this Govenment, Helliniko S.A., the Mayor of Helliniko-Argyroupolis and LAMDA Development S.A. to tell us where is the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko going to go which doesn’t have financial support, which has never asked for monetary support from no one and which has supported 7.500 patients in more than 72.000 visits up to now since December 2011.

We answer that we will continue to be in our current location offering medicines, hope and dignity.  All these years the Metropolitan Community Clinic Helliniko was a constant supporter of all people that needed our help without discrimination and we will continue to do so.

 

The lyrics of poet Kostas Varnalis express us volunteers:

“I am not the seed of chance
the fabricator of life
I am a child of need
and a mature child of rage”

 

We call on all citizens to express their disgust at those who attempt to evict us and close us down:

PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE: Mr. Kostantinos Mitsotakis
Telephone : 00302106711-000
Email: primeminister@primeminister.gr

MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT – Mr.  Adonis Georgiadis
Telephone: 0030210-3332-637 or 0030210-3332-548
Email: minister.sec@mnec.gr
Email: d.secretary@mnec.gr

MINISTRY OF HEALTH – Mr. Vassilis Kikilias
Telephone: 0030213-2161-233 or 0030213-2161-242
Email: minister@moh.gov.gr
Email: secretary.gen.dy@moh.gov.gr

HELLENIC SA – Mrs. Sultana Spyropoulou and Ms. Marilena Lakiotis
Telephone: 0030210-9820-214
Εmail: info@hellinikon.com
Email: lakioti@hellinikon.com

MUNICIPALITY OF HELLINIKO-ARGYROUPOLIS – Mr. Yiannis Constantatos
Telephone: 0030213-2018-734 / 0030213-2018-700
Email: secretary@elliniko-argyroupoli.gr
Email: protokollo@elliniko-argyroupoli.gr

 

The time has come for the society itself that gave birth and supported over the years the Metropolitan Social Medical Center of Hellenic, to give its immediate response to those who impoverish citizens and at the same time close down solidarity structures like ours, without considering what will happen with all the citizens we support.

 

Solidarity is the strongest weapon – Our mission continues

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko was facing eviction and closure. But solidarity and support from Greece and Europe have allowed us to stay and serve. MCCH with premises at the old US base will not be evicted or closed down. The eviction scheduled for June 30th 2018 has been postponed, while the government has promised to help with the search for an appropriate new facility.

MCCH will continue to operate at its current premises where it has been since late 2011.

This means that at least for the present the clinic will not be evicted as per the ultimatum received from Elliniko A.E. on 31 May 2018.(see Press Release of 1 June 2018) And more importantly, the government has promised to support the transfer of MCCH to an appropriate location to continue its work.

Any solutions proposed will be discussed by the volunteers. But in the meantime we can continue with our efforts to support and assist those most affected by the crisis.

The good news reached us just as we were holding a press conference on 14 June on the situation with MCCH.

The clinic was established in December 2011 at the beginning of the Greek economic crisis that deprived thousands of Greeks of health care due to unemployment and closed down businesses. From Dec 2011 until today, MCCH has treated 7,366 patients and conducted more than 64,025 patient visits.

This positive outcome came about after an unprecedented show of support from individuals and organizations from within Greece and throughout Europe. Mikis Theodorakis published a letter of support immediately. Actions and messages to the government then came pouring in by hundreds of citizens, solidarity groups, academics, journalists and other social health centers in Greece. It surely made the difference.

Demonstrations at the Greek consulate in Brussels by the Belgian Trade unions made a difference. Support from more than 130 academics and doctors from the UK, and Germany made a difference. And the forceful intervention by German MEP Rebecca Harms (Greens) calling on the European Parliament in order to prevent eviction and closure certainly made a difference.

The huge wave of strong support confirmed our decision to stay the course, not only for those who depend on us but for the cohesiveness of society as well.

We feel immense gratitude we thank everyone for their love and solidarity, for their support and determination.

Everyone working together made the difference. Solidarity is strong positive power. Your support turned the tide.

We pledge that MCCH will continue in its course to serve with humanity and respect, with dignity, solidarity and resistance.

METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO