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Thessaloniki switches its postponement of EuroPride 2020 to a cancellation

Thessaloniki switches its postponement of EuroPride 2020 to a cancellation

  • But a coincidence may make it possible for Thessaloniki to break the rules and host EuroPride in 2021 instead.
Thessaloniki Pride 2019.

Organizers of EuroPride 2020 have concluded they can’t go ahead this year and switched their postponement of the event to a definite cancellation.

Thessaloniki, the cultural capital of Greece, was due to host EuroPride between 20 and 28 June with the parade on Saturday 27 June.

In March, as the coronavirus pandemic took hold, they decided to postpone the festival.

However they were ‘determined to find a way to make the event happen’. At the time they hoped this would be in 2020.

Now they have reached the ‘painful’ decision that is not possible.

Holding EuroPride in the autumn would be ‘risky’

The Thessaloniki Pride board said: ‘Thessaloniki Pride board has reached the painful decision that EuroPride cannot be properly held, at least for this year.’

They said they’d considered their ‘responsibility towards public health and wellbeing’. With those in mind, they concluded they couldn’t deliver the ‘crucial elements of EuroPride’ which they said include ‘visibility, mass gatherings, inclusiveness, international travelling’

They added: ‘Holding it sometime in the autumn would be a pretty uncertain – risky even – choice.

‘The authorities, following the instructions of the global scientific community, can neither guarantee the feasibility of mass gatherings, events, concerts and conferences by the end of 2020. Nor can they rule out a second wave of COVID-19 cases and a second lockdown.

‘In addition, the pandemic has cost everyone in terms of resources, which has resulted in most of our partners not being able to carry out activities intended for EuroPride.’

They said this included sponsors ‘being more than hesitant to invest in our events’. Moreover, people who may take part do not necessarily have the means to do so.

The organizers added:

‘Even if we held an informal parade, EuroPride would not be European in its essence. Travelling is, in some cases, still forbidden, leading automatically to exclusion of part of the community.’

‘The reasons for bringing EuroPride to Greece still stand’

By coincidence, Europe will not have a EuroPride in 2021. That’s because the Danish capital, Copenhagen, is hosting World Pride next year.

When a European city hosts World Pride, the European Pride Organizers Association does not name a EuroPride host for that year.

That could open the doors to Thessaloniki hosting EuroPride in 2021, as an exception to this rule.

However, the organizers only said ‘we keep working closely with the European Pride Organisers’ Association to examine possible alternatives.

‘We are clear that the reasons for bringing EuroPride to Greece still stand.’

Meanwhile, they plan to host some visibility events in September or October this year to serve the local LGBT+ population.

So far, at least 450 Prides around the world have cancelled or postponed their 2020 events due to coronavirus.

UPDATE: Could 2024 be the year for Greece?

The European Pride Organisers Association (EPOA) may consider giving EuroPride to Thessaloniki for the next available year – 2024.

Steve Taylor, communications director for EPOA told GSN:

The Thessaloniki Pride team have indicated that they plan to ask our members to award them the EuroPride licence for a future year.

As 2021 and 2022 are already awarded, and bids are now locked down for 2023, the earliest year this could be would be 2024. They will make a formal request at our AGM in October.