The European Commission has told Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras to abide by an order from the country’s highest court which ruled he should immediately restore the national broadcaster ERT he ordered shut down on June 11 and remained off the air despite the decision.
“The European Commission takes into consideration the decision of the Council of State about ERT,” stated the European Commission’s spokesman Olivier Bailly.
As of early in the morning of June 19, the government had ignored the court’s order. Bailly added, however, that the European Union (EU) has no standing when it comes to directing a member country how to deal with mass media under its jurisdiction beyond advice.
He stressed, however, that the Commission expects rhe Greek Authorities to respect the decision of the Council of State and to follow the legal procedures.
“Alternatives for the reopening of the Greek public radio television are already proposed and now the Greek Authorities should decide what to do, respecting the existing framework,” he said.
When asked if Greece’s international lenders, the Troika of the EU-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank had ordered the closing of ERT, he said that, “Neither the Commission nor the Troika asked or implied the closure of any public body and, especially, the closure of the public radio television,” despite ordering the firing of 2,500 workers in the civil sector this year.
He said that Greek Authorities are pledged to restructure the Greek State and they have to present alternative solutions regarding the dismissals and the timelines. “It’s a decision that will be made autonomously by the Greek Authorities,” he said.
He also noted that Greece’s economic adjustment program provides a downsizing in the public sector, aiming at its more efficient and effective operation, and in this framework, the Greek government considers the closure, the merging and the downsizing of certain state bodies.