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CoS rules opening shops on Sundays is against the constitution

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

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.

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  1. As a foreigner in Greece I am dismayed at this reaction to Sunday opening. In a country whose economy has stagnated and where it’s important to encourage consumers to spend more, it’s sad that political dogma, tradition, and an unwillingness to change, still prevails. If Greece is unable to introduce measures as obvious and relatively simple as allowing Sunday opening, something that is common in other EU countries, I wonder how she can ever make the radical changes necessary to recover economically.

    • I disagree. People will not spend more, because they have very little to spend. Greece needs to produce more, not spend more. This is a ridiculous argument.

      And I oppose Sunday opening anyway. It is not necessary and is against Christian tradition. What would be more useful is requiring shops and especially pharmacies to be open on Monday afternoons. This is a silly Greek nonsense that should be stopped.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        pharmacies working hours have been quite free since 1 year, any can open whenever one wants, incl Sat mornings

        • Yes pharmacies are open most of the time now!

          • The fact remains that I needed to buy a medication on Monday afternoon, and had to wander around central Athens where all the pharmacies were closed bar one. And this one did not stock the drug I needed!

          • I think there are always 2 open at Syntagma and 1 in Monastiraki (Ermou str)

          • OK, but these are far from me, and given that there are about 40 pharmacies on Ippokratous and nearby streets, this just proves my poibt that there is a problem with their opening hours. What good is it to have more pharmacies if they are all closed?

      • Religion is finished.

        Greece should give the option to open on Sundays, not force them to close. Leave it up to the store owner, many won’t open anyway.

    • Giaourti Giaourtaki

      Sounds: sick sick sick, go buy yerself a souvenir

    • With half of Greece’s workers on a 400 euro per month salary I wonder which “consumers” you are referring to? Obviously you have only been here 2 days.

      Btw we’re tired of the same old EU banker propaganda you’re spouting. We’ve had 8 years of it. That game is not only old but ‘outed’ internationally.

      My advice is to return to Germany and agitate for 7-days-a-week shopping there.

      • keeptalkinggreece

        BTW: my personal observation: civil servants (active & retirees) are top as consumers – I know some, they pursue almost every day an item (not supermarket) or a service.

        Workers of 400-500e/m they also spend if young and still live with their middle class parents, having to pay zero bills for housing/utilities etc