The European Parliament on Wednesday called on the Commission to act over what it described as “grave concerns” about the rule of law in Greece, citing a hostile environment for journalists, the use of spyware against political opponents and journalists and abuse of power by the police.
MEPs adopted the resolution with 330 votes in favor, 254 against, and 26 abstentions.
European Parliamentarians noted the lack of progress in the investigation into the assassination of crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz in April 2021, and said that journalists are subject to physical threats and verbal attacks, in some cases even from high-ranking politicians, and violations of their privacy through the use of illegal spyware.
They also cited abusive lawsuits (SLAPPs) from business people and politicians mentioned in investigative reports.
Concerning the wiretapping scandal, the resolution condemned the extensive use of “national security” as a way to wiretap political opponents, including MEPs. In response to the scandal, MEPs call for effective investigations with the help of Europol, and voice concerns over the transfer of the investigation to a different prosecutor and political pressure, intimidation and harassment of officials who are scrutinizing the government.
The resolution also points to the excessive use of force by police and the deficient quality of subsequent investigations and court rulings, the length of judicial proceedings, and possible conflicts of interest, including police infiltration by organized crime.
MEPs also cite the treatment of migrants and reports of systematic pushbacks, as well as the attacks against civil society, particularly the smear campaigns and judicial harassment against human rights activists.
They also said they suspect “lack of political impartiality” in the parliamentary inquiry into the Tempe train disaster –which caused dozens of deaths in February 2023.
The European Parliament called on the Commission to make full use of the tools available to address the breaches of EU values in Greece, including assessing the use of EU funds.