European Commission
2023 Rule of Law Report Country Chapter on the rule of law situation in Greece
05 • 07 • 2023

Clear standards of professional conduct and integrity in the judiciary were set with the adoption of Codes of Conduct for all jurisdictions. There have been no steps taken with regard to the involvement of the judiciary in the appointments of the highest positions of the Greek judiciary, in line with European standards. 

Efforts to improve the quality of the justice system, in particular as regards digitalisation, continue. The revision of the judicial map for administrative justice aims at balancing the uneven distribution of cases and reducing delays. The establishment of the Judicial Police and the recruitment of judicial clerks is expected to improve the administration of justice. The system of legal aid is comprehensive, though its effectiveness could be jeopardised by delays in settling overdue lawyer’s fees. Serious challenges remain regarding the efficiency of justice, in particular the length of proceedings, which have further increased. Efforts to address the backlog before the highest administrative courts are made, including by adopting an accelerated procedure to deal with specific types of cases before the Court of Audit, which is already applied in practice.
The implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan for 2022-2025 is under way. The activities of the National Transparency Authority are progressing well and its cooperation with private and public entities continues. A new law aiming at increasing the verifications of asset declarations entered into force. Progress towards achieving a robust track record of prosecutions and final judgments in corruption cases has been relatively limited.

Measures on the integrity of civil servants continue to be taken forward and efforts to improve integrity and
conflicts of interest within the police force are ongoing. Rules to regulate lobbying are in force, while progress to implement an effective transparency register has been slow. The rules on political party financing were codified and subsequently amended with a reduction of political fines. A new law on the protection of whistleblowers who report breaches of EU law was adopted. Guidance was issued to ensure that direct awards of public contracts are only used in exceptional cases.

The Government has taken further steps to enhance transparency of media ownership through new legislation. Safeguards are in place to ensure the independence of public service media, but the fact that board members of the Radio and Television Corporation are appointed by the Minister responsible for media continues to raise concerns with regard to their effective independence and potential political influence. A new procedure to hire new staff members of the audiovisual media regulator has been launched, but challenges persist with regard to the adequacy of the regulator’s resources. The creation of a Task Force for the protection and empowerment of journalists is an important step. Nevertheless, concerns persist and more concrete steps are needed to improve the working environment of journalists, including as regards abusive lawsuits against journalists and their safety.

Despite efforts improving the quality of the legislative process in practice, challenges remain. While draft bills are consistently subject to public consultation and follow-up reports address the comments submitted, concerns regarding the lack of effective and timely consultation of stakeholders persists. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have criticised the practice of adopting omnibus legislation and last-minute amendments. Independent authorities are playing an active role in the system of checks and balances. An initial step has been taken towards amending the regulatory framework governing the registration requirements for civil society organisations. The situation of civil society raises concerns, in particular in relation CSOs working in specific areas.

European Commission
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