Greece’s top court, the Council of State, has been called to decide whether the 100-euro monthly fine imposed to unvaccinated citizens over 60 is legal and conform with the country’s Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights. Several citizens over 60, unvaccinated against Covid-19, appealed to the CoS demanding its abolishing; among them were a couple former high-ranking judges.
The first hearing on the case at the Plenary of the CoS took place last Friday, April 8.
At the first stage of the decision procedure, the CoS reviewed and ultimately rejected the appeal by the Greek State that was seeking a postponement of the trial, thus without submitting the required documents by the Health Ministry and other the Health Care institutions, EOPY and others.
It is noted that the legal representatives of the State were absent from the hearing even thought they had requested a postponement.
At the beginning of the hearing, the rapporteur, State Counselor Marlena Tripolitsioti, stated that with two documents of the court, the competent bodies of the State and the EOPPY were asked to send documents and data to the CoS case file for the postponement applications but without result. for these applications.
therefore, the Plenary of the CoS rejected the State’s request for a postponement of the trial, while the rapporteur raised the question of whether the court should issue a preliminary ruling requesting the submission of documents to the court and at the same time provide for sanctions in case of non-compliance or if the CoS must issue a final decision.
The lawyers of those who appealed against the fine, argued that the State will not provide the required evidence to the court “no matter how many preliminary rulings are issued.”
For this reason, they asked the CoC to proceed with the issuance of a final decision.
They also pointed out that the fine of 100 euros per month is imposed without income and financial criteria, even to citizens who receive a pension of 300 euros, while other milder measures could be imposed, next to the fine.
At the same time, the lawyers argued that the contested ministerial decision is unconstitutional, contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (ECHR). It also infringes on their individual rights, their constitutionally protected personal data and their property data.
Note that the 100-euro-fine ministerial decision would allow the sharing of citizens data between several institutions including the Health Ministry and the Independent Public Revenues Authority and tax offices. The fine would be booked on each tax office account of the unvaccinated citizen and properties would be confiscated if the citizens would not pay the fine in due time, normally a deadline of one month. By end of March, only 14% of the fined had reportedly had have paid
Note that among the citizens who have appealed to the CoS are a former vice-president and two judges of the Supreme Court, a former president of the Court of Appeals, two lawyers, one doctor, one priest, a retired teacher and several employees all over 60 years old, news website libre.gr reported.
On March 23, Alternate Health Minister Mina Gaga announced that the fine will be abolished by April 15, however, no dept would be written off.
As the punishment was implemented from January 15, the total fine for unvaccinated over 60, would be 300 euros, until April 15.
The Council of State will proceed with issuing its final ruling in due time.