Heavy criticism of Greece in the European Parliament

Fri, 19 Jan 2024 10:06 GMT
Greece was subjected to heavy criticism on the rule of law during yesterday's (Wednesday 17 January) session of the European Parliament (EP).
Heavy criticism of Greece in the European Parliament

During the debate on the rule of law in Greece, Dutch Liberal MEP Sophie in't Veld criticised the Mitsotakis government.

The Dutch politician sent a message to the journalists who were attacked for criticising the Mitsotakis government, to the widow of murdered journalist Yorgos Karayvaz, to the victims of the train accident in Tembi and the events off Pylos: "We will not leave you alone until justice is done".

Sophie i'nt Veld said that the rule of law is deteriorating in Greece and emphasised that this debate should have been held in the EP a long time ago.

Noting that the freedom of the press in Greece is hindered and independent organisations fighting against corruption are silenced, the MEP underlined that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is violated in Greece.

Justice Commissioner Didier Raiders also referred to the Greek government's appointment of the heads of the commissions on media advertising and stated that this "raises questions about transparency".

Raiders also referred to the monitoring of journalists with spyware and the lawsuits against them and emphasised that "more concrete steps are needed to improve the working environment for journalists".

Responding to the criticism from the New Democracy Party side, MEP Anna Misel Asimakopulu said that she saw political interests behind the allegations of rights violations in Greece, to which Dutch MEP Sophie in't Veld responded.

Velt said: "You reject all criticism, you see your critics as party supporters and you think that everything is about elections. Can you imagine people reacting because they defend certain ideas? Can you imagine that?" he said.

Asimakopoulou, MEP of the New Democracy Party, who was observed to be quite angry while answering the questions, referred to the murder of journalist Karayvaz and claimed that there is a minority in Greece that speaks as if there is no democracy in Greece and that this does not reflect the reality.

The President of the General Assembly interrupted Mr Asimakopoulou for exceeding the time allocated to him.

Gerun Leaners, a Dutch MEP from the European People's Party, of which the New Democracy Party is a member, also criticised Greece.

Leaners said, "I am speaking on behalf of the European People's Party and of course the Greek government belongs to our political family, but I will not say that everything is perfect. As in other member states, there are areas that need improvement."

Meanwhile, the European Parliament decided to issue a statement on the situation of the rule of law and press freedom in Greece. The decision was taken with 200 votes in favour, 119 against and 8 abstentions.

Deputy President of the European Parliament, Left Party MEP Dimitris Papadimoulis described the EP's decision to issue a statement on the issue as "a slap in the face of the Mitsotakis government".

"The proposal was submitted by Macron's Renew political group. It was voted by the Left, Socialists and Greens. It passed with a very large majority despite the NO of the European People's Party and the far right. New Democracy's 'moderate liberalism' does not convince the EU. Not even Macron's European Group!"

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