March 4. 2024. 6:11

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EU Parliament plenary to discuss Greece’s rule of law


Following an initiative of the European Socialists and Democrats (S&D), the EU Parliament will discuss for the first time at a plenary session the critical situation of the rule of law and the wiretapping scandal that has shaken Greek politics.

The debate entitled “The erosion of the rule of law in Greece. The wiretapping scandal and the freedom of the press” will take place on 15 February, the chiefs of the EU Parliament political groups have decided.

EURACTIV was informed that the initiative came from the S&D, and there was no opposition from other groups.

The situation of the rule of law in Greece has raised eyebrows in Athens as, according to the World Press Freedom Index for 2022, Greece fell from number 70 in 2021 to 108, the worst position out of all EU members.

Moreover, the Greek politics has been shaken by the so-called “Greek Watergate”, a wiretapping scandal according to which several politicians, businessmen and journalists’ phone were bugged by secret services.

Both issues have created a toxic atmosphere, with the EU Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry to investigate the use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware (PEGA) insisting that the scandal should be sorted out before the next elections due by summer.

S&D MEP Udo Bullmann, who recently took over the EU Parliament’s human rights committee, said national governments must be obedient to the rule of law.

“In Athens, I have my doubts that the democratic rights, especially the ones of opposition leaders, but also the ones of the governing party as well as the ones of journalists, have been fully respected,” the German politician told EURACTIV.

He added that this must be clarified by judges and be verified by the democratic persons in this country.

The role of Pasok

The leader of the Greek socialist party (Pasok), Nikos Androulakis, was the first politician who found that there was an attempt to bug his phone with the illegal Predator spyware.

A new electoral law will be applied in the next national elections, and according to experts, a coalition government is unavoidable.

Pasok, which ranks third in all polls, is expected to play a kingmakers’ role as, depending on the election result, it will have to choose between ruling New Democracy (EPP) party or main opposition leftist Syriza (EU. Left).

Asked if Pasok could form a government with New Democracy, considering that the Greek socialists have openly accused the ruling party of being behind the wiretapping scandal, Bullmann replied that he “trusts” Pasok would make the “right” choice.

“As a social democrat from Germany and the S&D, I respect the decisions of our sister parties. But I have to say that I have full trust in our partners and in our party family that they will make the right choices against the backdrop of the political situation in their country,” he said.

Bullmann has not hidden his opinion over the matter.

In the past, he openly criticised the “Grand Coalition” with the EPP and backed “building progressive majorities wherever it is possible”.

(Sarantis Michalopoulos | EURACTIV.com)