Greek Watergate: democracy at risk
We are deeply concerned about the extremely negative and dangerous development regarding the investigation of the illegal wiretapping scandal in Greece, which puts new obstacles in the course of the investigation and clearly shows the deterioration of the rule of law.
On 10 January, the Greek chief prosecutor Isidoros Ntogiakos issued an opinion stating that it is not allowed for those affected by interceptions by the National Intelligence Service of Greece (EYP) to be informed and that the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) cannot carry out investigations on telecommunications companies.
He even threatened the members of the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy (ADAE) with criminal prosecution.
The opinion has been declared unconstitutional by the president of ADAE and prominent constitutional law experts. It blatantly violates the constitutionally guaranteed independence of ADAE and limits its powers of control, interfering in an unprecedented way with its constitutionally and legally guaranteed mission.
In the so-called “Greek Watergate” scandal, several politicians, journalists and businessmen have been surveilled by Greek secret services, which are under the control of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (EPP) and his conservative cabinet.
We highlight that any attempt to obstruct the work of ADAE, as the constitutionally competent independent authority in an EU Member State, endangers democracy and the rule of law and favours the cover-up of a very serious surveillance scandal, including of political persons, in Greece.
Such an opinion is part of the constant efforts of the Greek government to violate the rule of law. We cannot accept such developments that are against basic democratic principles and we stand with those seeking to uphold fundamental rights and the rule of law.
Dimitrios Papadimoulis MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament sent a letter to Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament and the group leaders, informing them about these worrying developments. At the same time, Konstantinos Arvanitis MEP sent a letter to the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) and the LIBE Working Group on Rule of Law on the issue.
MEP Dimitrios Papadimoulis (Syriza, Greece), Vice-President of the European Parliament, declared:
“Τhe unconstitutional opinion of the Attorney General of the Greek Supreme Court prevents the constitutionally competent Independent Authority from investigating the scandal of illegal surveillance in Greece. These latest extremely negative developments in the course of the investigation of the illegal wiretapping scandal in Greece are totally unacceptable and provocative. We will reinforce the European Parliament’s commitment to a full and thorough investigation of the scandal, which is a pan-European issue of democracy and respect for the rule of law.”
MEP Konstantinos Arvanitis (Syriza, Greece) added:
“It is more than apparent that the Greek Government is failing to act in an institutionally responsible, diligent and prudent manner in order to shed light on an issue of major Greek and European interest, such as the highly questionable wiretapping of national and EU officials. At a time when massive tremors are shaking the confidence of European citizens in political systems and institutions at both the local and the EU level, we must all act immediately and decisively to ward off the likelihood of further detrimental developments. The preservation of the rule of law is our institutional duty and obligation.”