Greece’s Council of State ruled that opening shops on Sundays was against the constitution and the right of workers to relax and families to bond.
The Assembly of the Council of State ruled about the decision of 7. July 2014 issued by the Ministry of Development to have shops open on optional basis all Sundays in three regions and eight touristic areas after professional groups of workers, artisans and shopkeepers applied to cancel the decision.
The pilot program was to be implemented for one year in the regions of
Attica: 1) historical center of Athens 2) Rafina-Pikermi municipality
Central Macedonia: 1) historical center of Thessaloniki 2) Chalkidiki
South Aegean: Municipalities of Rhodes, Kos, Syros – Ermoupoli, Mykonos, Santorini-Thera.
The CoS ruled that the statutory authority to Development Minister to issue a decision on the operation of shops on Sundays “without specific determination” is contrary to Article 43 of the Constitution, which requires similar decisions to be issued via presidential decrees and not via ministerial decisions.
“And this is” the ruling notes “is regardless of the reasons which refer to the right of religious freedom for Christians.”
This is not legal and the ministerial decision is being canceled.
At the same time the CoS refers to workers’ and citizens’ rights in connection with the holiday on Sunday. It noes:
“The Constitution guarantees to all types of workers and employees (self-employed, etc.) the right to leisure and enjoy a regular break of the working week individually or together with their families.
This weekly break serves the health and the normal development of the personality of the individual, with physical and mental renewal (Article 5 and 21 of the Constitution).
In this regards, it also offers the possibility of organizing the social and family life, issues also ensured by the Constitution (Article 21).
The ruling makes reference to the Christian religion and the Sunday break saying that it offers a common holiday for families once a week and “such a day
has been selected in a long tradition both in Greece and in other EU member states associated with the Christian religion. “
It should be noted that the law to have Sunday as shop holiday was introduced in 1909. Excepted were categories like restaurants, bakeries, cafes, clubs, souvenir shops and others. (via skai.gr)
The claims in 2014, that opening shops on Sundays would hinder people from attending the Sunday mess were eliminated with shops opening hours to start at 11 o’ clock in the morning.