Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Greece: Council of State Reverses Government

(June 20, 2013) On June 17, 2013, the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, ordered the re-opening of the state-owned radio and television network, Hellenike Radiophonia Teleorasi (ERT). The Council of State also ordered the Greek government to take the necessary measures to allow ERT to continue broadcasting until the formation and operation of a new network to serve the public. (Temporary Order of June 17, 2013, of the President of the Council of State, Council of State website.)

The Council of State’s order was in response to a recent decision made by Antonis Samaras, the Prime Minister of Greece, to close down ERT in an effort to meet the demands of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank – collectively called “the Troika” – to reduce public expenditures. Samaras stated that he envisioned a smaller and more efficiently run organization in lieu of ERT, which currently employs close to 2,700 people. The shutting down of ERT was met with public protests and threats from members of the legislature that they might call for early elections. (Court Re-Opens Greek Broadcaster, Saving Fragile Coalition, EURACTIV (June 18, 2013).)

All the major political parties in <?Greece expressed satisfaction with the court's order. Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of the small Democratic Left party, a ruling coalition member, stated that the decision confirmed his party's stance "that no one has the right to shut down radio and television and turn screens black." Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the Socialist Party, PASOK, stated that the court decision vindicated his party's position and that he opposed holding elections at this time. (Id.)