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First ever resolution on the rule of law in Greece adopted!

This week the European Parliament adopted its first-ever resolution on the rule of law in Greece, expressing strong concerns about the systemic and structural violations of the rule of law, media freedom and fundamental rights in the country, which has been governed by the EPP-affiliated government of Kyriakos Mitsotakis since 2019.
 
The resolution is based on facts and information that has been repeatedly confirmed by independent experts, NGOs, and media organisations. The very long list of threats to the rule of law in Greece includes: physical threats and verbal attacks against journalists from high-ranking politicians and ministers; the illicit use of spyware, including Predator, against journalists and political opponents; the murder of journalist Giorgos Karaivaz in 2021 and its improper investigation; and the Petsas List scandal, where €20 million of state-funding was distributed among government-friendly media outlets.
 
Despite this, the EPP refused to support today’s resolution on Greece, tabled by all democratic political groups in the Parliament. They also refused to participate in negotiations on its text, unlike previous Parliament resolutions on the rule of law in non-EPP governed countries.
 
The Mitsotakis government has a track record of deliberately trying to avoid scrutiny by the European Parliament. In March 2023, the Greek Prime Minister and Greek ministers and officials refused to meet with a delegation of MEPs that were in Athens to look at the state of the rule of law in Greece. In addition, Greece’s government dismissed a call from the European public prosecutor to take action over the potential criminal liability of two former transport ministers after the country’s worst train disaster last February.
 
The S&Ds urge the European Commission, including Vice-President Schinas, to take action to defend democracy and fundamental rights in Greece. Greek authorities must end the secrecy, stop attacking critical journalists, and clear up the Predator scandal.
 
Cyrus Engerer, S&D MEP and negotiator on Greece in the LIBE committee, said:
 
“For months, the EPP has been trying to sweep the declining state of the rule of law in Greece under the carpet. Until today, they managed to block the Parliament from adopting a formal position on a country ranked the lowest among EU countries on press freedom for the second year in a row. At the same time, the EPP is always first to push the Parliament to adopt resolutions on countries not governed by EPP-affiliated parties. 
 
“If the EPP is not eager to listen to our concerns regarding Greece, they should at least listen to the independent experts. No later than yesterday, 17 human rights and press freedom organisations sent an alarming letter to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, urging for immediate action to address the deterioration of media freedom and the rule of law in Greece.

Photo by Patrick on Unsplash

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