Greece

III - Changes to Constitutional Law

Nature national instruments     
III.1
What is the character of the legal instruments adopted at national level to implement Euro-crisis law (constitutional amendment, organic laws, ordinary legislation, etc)?

Ordinary legislation is usually employed for the implementation of Euro-crisis law.[1] For the voting of the legislative statutes a normal procedure is mobilized, that is, one that does not require a qualified majority. This has sometimes raised objections of unconstitutionality of the parliamentary procedure from the part of the opposition,[2] as well as before the Council of State.[3] The legislation is subsequently applied through administrative acts and circulars.

Generally, statutes implementing or ratifying Euro-crisis law often comprise broad authorizations to the executive, especially the Minister of Finance, to take all the necessary measures for their application.[4] In certain cases, the Minister of Finance is authorized to sign any relevant international agreements for the application and effectiveness of the Euro-crisis legal instruments, which are operative from their signature and are only introduced to Parliament for “discussion and briefing”.[5] This expansion of executive powers was necessary in order to accommodate the “troika” review missions[6] and has provoked strong reactions in the legal, political and academic world. It was used as an argument for the unconstitutionality of the relevant statutes before the Council of State.[7]

In many cases, legislative measures implementing Euro-crisis law and measures concerning the conditions set by the loan agreements have been voted according to an emergency procedure, which entails abbreviation of deadlines for parliamentary debate and voting of the statute under consideration, both in the competent parliamentary committees and in the plenary session.[8] This has been the case, most importantly, of the first and second MoU, which was discussed and voted in one day in the Plenum of the Parliament. Members of the Government, later, admitted that they had not had the time to read the MoU, a subject that caused strong reactions in Parliament and the media.[9] The employment of this procedure has provoked reactions by the deputies of the opposition, and sometimes even of those supporting the Government coalition.[10]

Especially, Governments during the crisis have made an extensive use of a sui generis legal instrument, the so-called “administrative acts of legislative content”. These are executive administrative acts, normally issued under exceptional circumstances, having a content which normally belongs to the competence of the Parliament. These administrative acts are invested with the status of a legal statute, under the condition that they are ratified by Parliament within a certain time period.[11] More precisely, according to article 44 paragraph 1 of the Greek Constitution: “Under extraordinary circumstances of an urgent and unforeseeable need, the President of the Republic may, upon the proposal of the Cabinet, issue acts of legislative content. Such acts shall be submitted to Parliament for ratification, as specified in the provisions of article 72 paragraph 1, within forty days of their issuance or within forty days from the convocation of a parliamentary session. Should such acts not be submitted to Parliament within the above time-limits or if they should not be ratified by Parliament within three months of their submission, they will henceforth cease to be in force.[12] Administrative acts of legislative content are subject to scrutiny following an action for their annulment before the Council of State. However, after their retroactive ratification by Parliament they are immune from direct judicial scrutiny. Greek courts can still declare their provisions unconstitutional, yet their decisions lack an abrogative effect. What is more, unconstitutionality can only concern the content of these acts, since the fulfillment of procedural conditions is immune from judicial scrutiny, belonging to the interna corporis of Parliament.

The Government has used this instrument in order to approve certain financial assistance instruments and to provide authorization to the executive authorities to sign the relevant agreements.[13] The extended use of this exceptional instrument has sometimes caused the reaction of the parties of the opposition, and even of the Government coalition, as well as of legal scholarship and public opinion in general, who often stress the degradation of the role and functioning of the Parliament as a consequence of the financial crisis.[14] The public television and radio were closed after the issuing of such an act, which led the left party of the Government coalition (DIM.AR., Democratic Left) to stop supporting the Government in June 2013. [15]

Constitutional amendment   
III.2   
Have there been any constitutional amendments in response to the Euro-crisis or related to Euro-crisis law? Or have any amendments been proposed?

No constitutional amendment in response to the Euro-crisis law has been adopted. The need for a constitutional amendment in order to implement the balanced budget rule of the Fiscal Compact is stressed out by some legal scholars, who consider the statute implementing the Fiscal Compact insufficient and incompatible with the exigencies of the treaty.[16]

Nevertheless, especially since Spring  2012, there is a public debate on the need of a constitutional amendment. In their electoral campaigns for the elections of May 2012, the two main political parties of the bipartisan, until then, political system included propositions for an extended amendment of many parts of the Constitution, or even the creation of a new Constitution from the beginning, in order to respond to the new needs of the Greek State, which were mainly a result of the financial crisis. The Constitution of 1975 was considered outdated and related to the deficiencies of the political process and of the institutional functioning of the Greek State by the main political parties. However, after the two consecutive elections in 2012 and the important shock that they bore in the political world, the debate has changed focus. The question is whether the need for a constitutional amendment still persists or if the de facto changes in the functioning of the Constitution make this amendment unnecessary. Except from the debate on the inclusion of the Balanced Budget Rule in the Constitution, which mainly takes place in the academic world, changes proposed concern institutional and fiscal matters that would eliminate corruption phenomena and instability of the taxation system, the separation of powers (increase of powers of the President, restriction of the power of the Prime Minister, independence of the judiciary, establishment of a constitutional court), and the form and functioning of the parliamentary system itself (reduction of the number of parliamentarians, popular legislative initiative, changes in the functioning of political parties, transparency of the financial situation of parties, revision of the immunity of Members of the Government from criminal responsibility).[17] The debate is taking place in public fora for the moment and no official proposal has been submitted to Parliament.

Article 110 of the Constitution sets a rigid procedure of revision of the Constitution:

1. The provisions of the Constitution shall be subject to revision with the exception of those which determine the form of government as a Parliamentary Republic and those of articles 2 paragraph 1, 4 paragraphs 1, 4 and 7 , 5 paragraphs 1 and 3, 13 paragraph 1, and 26.

2. The need for revision of the Constitution shall be ascertained by a resolution of Parliament adopted, on the proposal of not less than fifty Members of Parliament, by a three-fifths majority of the total number of its members in two ballots, held at least one month apart. This resolution shall define specifically the provisions to be revised.        
3. Upon a resolution by Parliament on the revision of the Constitution, the next Parliament shall, in the course of its opening session, decide on the provisions to be revised by an absolute majority of the total number of its members.

4. Should a proposal for revision of the Constitution receive the majority of the votes of the total number of members but not the three-fifths majority specified in paragraph 2, the next Parliament may, in its opening session, decide on the provisions to be revised by a three-fifths majority of the total number of its members.
5. Every duly voted revision of provisions of the Constitution shall be published in the Government Gazette within ten days of its adoption by Parliament and shall come into force through a special parliamentary resolution.

6. Revision of the Constitution is not permitted before the lapse of five years from the completion of a previous revision.[18]

Nevertheless, because of the profundity of the constitutional changes proposed, certain political actors have adopted the narrative of the creation of a new Constitution through the exercise of “constituent power”, which would entail the dispensation from the procedural and substantial requirements of article 110.[19]

Constitutional context
III.3
If national constitutional law already contained relevant elements, such as a balanced budget rule or independent budgetary councils, before the crisis that are now part of Euro-crisis law, what is the background of these rules?

National constitutional law did not contain a balanced budget rule before the Euro-zone crisis. Neither did national constitutional law already contain an independent budgetary council. The drafting of the national budget was a competence of the General Accounting Office of the State, a public service coming under the Ministry of Finance.[20]

Purpose constitutional amendment 
III.4
What is the purpose of the constitutional amendment and what is its position in the constitution?

No formal proposal of constitutional amendment is yet submitted to Parliament. Nevertheless, especially since spring of 2012, there is a public debate on the need of a constitutional amendment. In their electoral campaigns for the elections of May 2012, the two main political parties of the bipartisan, until then, political system included propositions for an extended amendment of many parts of the Constitution, or even the creation of a new Constitution from the beginning, in order to respond to the new needs of the Greek State, which were mainly a result of the financial crisis. The Constitution of 1975 was considered outdated and related to the deficiencies of the political process and of the institutional functioning of the Greek State by the main political parties. However, after the two consecutive elections in 2012 and the important shock that they bore in the political world, the debate has changed focus. The question is whether the need for a constitutional amendment still persists or if the de facto changes in the functioning of the Constitution make this amendment unnecessary. Except from the debate on the inclusion of the Balanced Budget Rule in the Constitution, which mainly takes place in the academic world, changes proposed concern institutional and fiscal matters that would eliminate corruption phenomena and instability of the taxation system, the separation of powers (increase of powers of the President, restriction of the power of the Prime Minister, independence of the judiciary, establishment of a constitutional court), and the form and functioning of the parliamentary system itself (reduction of the number of parliamentarians, popular legislative initiative, changes in the functioning of political parties, transparency of the financial situation of parties, revision of the immunity of Members of the Government from criminal responsibility).  The debate is taking place in public fora for the moment. Because of the profundity of the constitutional changes proposed, certain political actors have adopted the narrative of the creation of a new Constitution through the exercise of “constituent power”, which would entail, among others, the dispensation from the procedural and substantial requirements of article 110.[21]

Relationship with EU law        
III.5
Is the constitutional amendment seen as changing the relationship between national and European constitutional law?

Not applicable. The discussions on an eventual constitutional amendment are for the moment very vague and general and do not take place in Parliament but rather in the media and the public fora.

Organic law      
III.6
Have there been changes to organic laws or other types of legislation that are of a different nature or level than ordinary legislation, in relation to Euro-crisis law or the budgetary process?

After their implementation, Euro-crisis legal instruments have a different status than ordinary legislation. Article 28 of the Constitution states:

1. The generally recognised rules of international law, as well as international conventions as of the time they are sanctioned by statute and become operative according to their respective conditions, shall be an integral part of domestic Greek law and shall prevail over any contrary provision of the law. The rules of international law and of international conventions shall be applicable to aliens only under the condition of reciprocity.   
2. Authorities provided by the Constitution may by treaty or agreement be vested in agencies of international organizations, when this serves an important national interest and promotes cooperation with other States. A majority of three-fifths of the total number of Members of Parliament shall be necessary to vote the law sanctioning the treaty or agreement.

3. Greece shall freely proceed by law passed by an absolute majority of the total number of Members of Parliament to limit the exercise of national sovereignty, insofar as this is dictated by an important national interest, does not infringe upon the rights of man and the foundations of democratic government and is effected on the basis of the principles of equality and under the condition of reciprocity.”[22]

Thus, the debate on the place of these legal statutes in the normative hierarchy of the Greek legal order is closely connected to the question of their function, that is whether they are ratifying supra-national law or not.[23] Especially concerning the relationship of these statutes to the Constitution, scholars accept the possibility of “tacit” constitutional amendment through the application of article 28, when European treaties are amended. However, according to the majority of scholars, in order for this to happen, the special procedure and the substantial conditions set by paragraphs 2 and 3 of this article must be respected.[24] In the case of the implementation of Euro-crisis law, this procedure has never been applied. In any case, there is no constitutional court in Greece with the competence to monitor the procedure of constitutional amendments.

Constitutional amendment and ordinary law       
III.7
If ordinary legislation was adopted in conjunction with a constitutional amendment, what is the relationship between the two?

Not applicable.

Perception source of legal change   
III.8
In the public and political discussions on the adoption of ordinary legislation, what was the perception on the appropriate legal framework? Was the ordinary legislation seen as implementing national constitutional law, or Euro-crisis law?

Article 28 of the Constitution sets substantial and procedural conditions for legal statutes implementing supra-national agreements that attribute constitutional competences to supra-national institutions and restrict the exercise of national sovereignty.[25] Thus, the appropriate legal framework for the implementation of Euro-crisis legal instruments depends on 1) their character of international/supra-national legally binding agreements, 2) if they attribute constitutional competences to supra-national institutions, or 3) if they restrict the exercise of national sovereignty. Further under the procedural and substantial conditions of this article, scholarship has accepted the possibility of “tacit” constitutional amendment.[26] This would be the case, for example, if the agreements implemented were changing the repartition of constitutional competences.

Most of the Euro-crisis legal instruments have been perceived as part of European law in public debates, and this, despite their intergovernmental character in some cases.[27]

However, the Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for the loan agreements have been argued to constitute the political programme of the Government, albeit in the form “staff-level” agreements. Thus, they have not been ratified, nor have the Loan Agreements themselves.[28]  Moreover, virtually all statutes containing austerity measures have been perceived as implementing exigencies of the creditors, either they are formally mentioned in a Euro-crisis legal instrument, or they are required by the “troika”, as a precondition for the disbursement of the tranches of the loan.[29] Yet, by virtue of subsequent Council Decisions in the context of the excessive deficit procedure, which reiterate the measures of MoU, the latter also acquire European “garb”. The European nature of the financial assistance instruments has been stressed by many academics. However, the Council of State explicitly negated the formal connection of the MoU to EU law in its decision 1285/2012.[30]

Subsequently, in decision 1507/2014,[31] the Council of State refused to introduce a preliminary reference to the ECJ concerning the PSI procedure. The majority of the judges found that, even though the statute determining the PSI conditions was drafted after deliberations between the Greek authorities and EU institutions, the latter had only a consulting function in the “political or technocratic” decisions on the PSI. The relevant statute and the implementing measures were thus sovereignly decided by the constitutionally competent Greek authorities and no application of EU law was at issue. Relevant statements by the Eurogroup or the Euro-area MS’ Heads of State and Government only had a political character (point 19).

In the same paragraph, the Council of State clarified that the EFSF is not an EU institutional authority but a legal entity under private law, constituted by the Eurozone MS for providing financial assistance to the countries that need it and for ensuring financial stability in the Eurozone (point 19).

There has been a heated political debate, inside and outside Parliament, on the appropriate legal framework for the implementation of Euro-crisis law. The public debate in the media has been mainly concentrated on the implementation of the MoU setting the conditions, usually austerity plans, for providing financial assistance to Greece. Political actors from the opposition and public actors,[32] trade unions,[33] bar associations,[34] academics,[35] journalists, NGOs, artists,[36] and even the Scientific Service of the Parliament[37] have objected that statutes voted in application of Euro-crisis law were formally and substantially violating the Greek Constitution. Especially in the relevant parliamentary debates, the opposition constantly repeated that a special procedure for the voting of the relevant legal statutes or a constitutional amendment was needed.[38] What is more, many public and political actors have objected to the adoption of this legislation through emergency procedures, and through the sui generis legal instrument of the “acts of legislative content”. Also, they have accused the Government of deliberately following opaque nondemocratic procedures.[39]

Many statutes and administrative acts implementing Euro-crisis law, and especially the MoU, have been brought before the Supreme Administrative Court (the Council of State) and other courts, in the context of the diffused constitutionality review. Also, many of the relevant legal statutes have been attacked before international institutions, such as the ECHR, the European Committee of Social Rights and the International Labor Organization.[40] The various recourses have been introduced by trade unions, judges, University professors, bar associations, and private persons.[41] However, despite the almost commonsensical character of the unconstitutionality of at least some of the statutes implementing Euro-crisis law, and the encouraging decisions of certain international institutions,[42] in Greece there is no strong and independent constitutional court that could annul these acts.[43] Nevertheless, some court decisions sanction the unconstitutionality, formal or substantial, of certain specific provisions mainly concerning taxes, collective and individual labor rights, and social security.[44]

Often, when facing legal-procedural arguments of the opposition, the Government has invoked the political and moral responsibility to save the economy of the country, which does not allow for formalism.[45] 

When not using moral-political argumentation, people supporting the Government and the austerity policies required by the Eurozone partners, the EU and the IMF, have repeatedly answered that the statutes related to Euro-crisis law are also implementing, and not violating, national constitutional law. More precisely, the main legal argument has been that article 28 of the Constitution provides for European integration. Moreover, the loan agreements, austerity policies, and budgetary discipline are necessary for the reform of the Public Administration, for the efficacious functioning of the State, for the fight against corruption, clientelism, and tax evasion, and for the fulfillment of the country’s budgetary needs, so that it can regain its sovereignty, which is lost because of the debt crisis. Thus, the defenders of the Government policies have underlined that the implementation of Euro-crisis law does not restrict the exercise of national sovereignty and does not entail the concession of any constitutional competences to institutions of supra-national organizations.[46] Besides, in the public debate, which is characterized by a constant prediction of impeding calamities, it has usually been argued that there is no alternative to the implementation of these measures, if one wants the State and the economy to function. Indeed the non-implementation is presented as a synonym to the exit of the country from the Euro and its bankruptcy which will burden the citizens.[47]

Decision no. 668/2012, 20 February 2012, of the Greek Council of State, concerning the legal statute implementing the first MoU, is characteristic of this argumentation.[48] Indeed, the Council of State argued that, even though it is a result of negotiations and agreement between Greece and certain international authorities, the Memorandum does not constitute an international treaty which is legally binding the Greek Government, but only the governmental program for the confrontation of the economic problems of the country, a compelling public interest and a common interest of Greece’s Eurozone partners. Therefore, as a political program, the Memorandum does not result in the transfer of competences to international authorities, it does not create legal norms and it does not possess a direct effect in the domestic legal order, given that, for its application, the constitutionally competent organs have to enact some implementing measures. Thus, no special procedure or constitutional amendment was needed for its enactment.[49]

However, generally the need for a constitutional amendment in order to accommodate the changes brought about by the Euro-crisis has been affirmed by all parties of the political world.[50] Especially since the spring of 2012, there has been a public debate on the need for such an amendment. In their electoral campaigns in May 2012, the two main political parties of the bipartisan, until then, political system included propositions for an extended amendment of many parts of the Constitution, or even the creation of a new Constitution from the beginning, in order to respond to the new needs of the Greek State, which were mainly a result of the financial crisis.[51] The Constitution of 1975 was considered outdated and related to the deficiencies of the political process and of the institutional functioning of the Greek State by the main political parties. Because of the profundity of the constitutional changes proposed, certain political actors have adopted the narrative of the creation of a new Constitution through the exercise of “constituent power”, which would entail the dispensation from the procedural and substantial requirements of article 110.[52]

After the two consecutive elections in 2012 and the important shock that they bore in the political world, the debate has changed focus. The question is whether the need for a constitutional amendment still persists or if the de facto changes in the functioning of the Constitution make this amendment unnecessary. Except from the debate on the inclusion of the Balanced Budget Rule in the Constitution, which mainly takes place in the academic world,[53] changes proposed concern institutional and fiscal matters that would eliminate corruption phenomena and instability of the taxation system, the separation of powers (increase of powers of the President, restriction of the power of the Prime Minister, independence of the judiciary, establishment of a constitutional court), and the form and functioning of the parliamentary system itself (reduction of the number of parliamentarians, popular legislative initiative, changes in the functioning of political parties, transparency of the financial situation of parties, revision of the immunity of Members of the Government from criminal responsibility).[54] The debate is taking place in public fora for the moment and no official proposal has been submitted to Parliament.[55]

Miscellaneous
III.9
What other information is relevant with regard to Greece and to changes to national (constitutional) law?

Even though the Constitution has not been formally amended, one can easily observe the dramatic change of the way the Constitution is applied since the burst of the Euro-zone crisis. In an academic article, Giannis Drosos argues that the first Memorandum constitutes a “turning point” of the Greek political regime, because it imposes the exercise of some of the most important political powers in cooperation with organs that have an international nature, like the “troika”.[56] Also, Lina Papadopoulou refers to the “normative power of the facts themselves” that overrules the formal Constitution.[57] Kostas Giannakopoulos argues that the Memorandum has completely substituted the [constitutionally] imposed balancing of constitutional rules and principles” and has fixed the interpretation of the flexible domestic economic constitution as pursuing the EU economic policy.[58] It is true that the interpretation of constitutional rules and rights has importantly changed during the last years, and, in the context of austerity policies implemented by Governments, it has legitimized restrictions in constitutional rights and practices of the executive that would be unthinkable some years earlier.[59] What is more, the upheaval of the political correlations after the elections of 2012, as well as the configuration of the coalition government between left and right pro-European parties, have importantly changed the functioning of Government and has led Antonis Manitakis to speak about the “collapse” of the post-junta political-institutional regime.[60] These substantial changes, without a formal corroboration, are in deep contrast with the superficial constitutional amendments which have been the practice of past Governments.[61]

[1] Cf. for example Legal Statute 3845/2010, ΦΕΚ Α 65/6.5.2010 (1st bailout agreement), Legal Statute 3985/2011, ΦΕΚ Α 151/1.7.2011 (Medium term budgetary framework 2012-2015), Legal Statute 4021/2011, ΦΕΚ Α 218/3.10.2011 (EFSF Treaty), Legal Statute 4024/2011, ΦΕΚ 226 Α/27.10.2011 (austerity measures for the application of the Medium term budgetary framework), Legal Statute 4046/2012 (2nd bail out agreement), Legal Statute 4063/2012, ΦΕΚ Α 71/30.3.2012 (136 TFEU amendment, ESM, and Fiscal Compact), Legal Statute 4093/2012, ΦΕΚ Α 222/12.11.2012 (Medium term budgetary framework 2013-2016).

[2] Cf. for example the section concerning the financial assistance instruments (section X) and the question concerning the approval of the 136 TFEU amendment (question V.2), the ESM Treaty (question VIII.2), and the Fiscal Compact (Legal Statute 4063/2012) (question IX.2).

[3] See the decision 668/2012, 20 February 2012, of the Greek Council of State, on the procedure of ratification of the first bailout agreement, in the official site of the Bar Association of Athens, www.dsanet.gr/Epikairothta/Nomologia/668.htm. See also the relevant question in the section “Member States receiving financial assistance” (question X.8).

[4] See for example article 2 of the statute 3845/2010.

[5] See for example article 1 paragraph 4 of the statute 3845/2010, as amended by the statute 3847/2010. See also article 93 of the statute 3862/2010. Cf. the section concerning the financial assistance instruments and the EFSF/M.

[6] Cf. question X.7.

[7] See questions IV.2 and IV.6 concerning the EFSF agreement, as well as the questions concerning financial assistance to Greece (question X.1 and following).

[8] Article 76 paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Constitution: “4. A Bill designated as very urgent by the Government shall be introduced for voting after a limited debate among the rapporteurs involved, the Prime Minister or the competent Minister, the leaders of parties represented in Parliament and one spokesman for each party. The duration of speeches and the time for the debate may be limited by the Standing Orders. 5. The Government may request that a Bill of particular importance or of an urgent nature be debated in a specific number of sittings, not to exceed three. Parliament may prolong the debate through two additional sittings on the proposal of one-tenth of the total number of Members of Parliament. The duration of each speech shall be specified by the Standing Orders.” Source of translation: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/f3c70a23-7696-49db-9148-f24dce6a27c8/001-156%20aggliko.pdf

[9] See questions X.1 and following, especially question X.5.

[10] The first and the second Memoranda (Legal Statutes 3825/2010 and 4046/2012) have been voted under this procedure, on the 6th of May 2010 and on the 12th of February 2012 respectively. See the Minutes of the Greek Parliament on the 6th of May 2010, http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/a08fc2dd-61a9-4a83-b09a-09f4c564609d/es20100506_1.pdf and on the 12th of February 2012, http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/a08fc2dd-61a9-4a83-b09a-09f4c564609d/es20120212.pdf, where the reactions of the opposition. Also, the Medium term budgetary framework 2013-2016 (Legal Statute 4093/2012) has been voted following this procedure. See the parliamentary debates on the 7th of November 2012, where the reactions of the opposition, available at http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/a08fc2dd-61a9-4a83-b09a-09f4c564609d/es20121107.pdf . For example, the Government tried to insert certain measures concerning over-debited citizens to the Parliament according to the emergency procedure, but finally followed the normal procedure, after reactions of the opposition and of the parties of the Government coalition. See “The Government yielded concerning the urgent character of the Government bill on the loans” [in Greek], http://tvxs.gr/news/%CE%B5%CE%BB%CE%BB%CE%AC%CE%B4%CE%B1/%CE%BF%CE%BC%CE%B1%CE%B4%CE%B9%CE%BA%CF%8C-%C2%AB%CF%8C%CF%87%CE%B9%C2%BB-%CF%83%CF%84%CE%BF-%C2%AB%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%84%CE%B5%CF%80%CE%B5%CE%AF%CE%B3%CE%BF%CE%BD%C2%BB-%CF%84%CE%BF%CF%85-%CE%BD%CF%83-%CE%B3%CE%B9%CE%B1-%CF%84%CE%B1-%CE%B4%CE%AC%CE%BD%CE%B5%CE%B9%CE%B1.

[11] Cf. for example legal statutes 4047/2012, ΦΕΚ 31 Α/23.2.2012, and 4147/2013, ΦΕΚ 98 Α/26.04.2013. It is interesting to note that the public television and radio has been shut down after an act of legislative content, extending the legislative authorization to the administration on the matter.  Cf. ΠΝΠ ΦΕΚ Α’ 139/11.6.2013, available at http://www.dsanet.gr/Epikairothta/Nomothesia/pnp11_6.htm. This act was the legal basis of the Decision 02/11.6.2013, “Suppression of the public enterprise Greek Radio – Television, A.E. (ERT-A.E.)”, ΦΕΚ B 1414/11.6.2013 issued the same day. This measure was presented by the Government as satisfying the exigency of the “troika” for the reducing the number of public employees. However, the Commission denied that they demanded the closure of the public radio and television organization. The act of legislative content was never ratified by Parliament and thus is not valid anymore.  However, this has not any de facto consequences.

[12] Source of translation: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/f3c70a23-7696-49db-9148-f24dce6a27c8/001-156%20aggliko.pdf

[13] Cf. the question on the implementation of the financial assistance instruments (section X).

[14] See, for example, the article “They bring emergency bill following pressures by the creditors” [in Greek], Eleftherotypia, 12 January 2013, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=335156. See the reaction of political leaders to the closure of ERT, “Virulent reactions of the parties to the closure of ERT” [in Greek], Ta Nea, 11 June 2013, http://www.tanea.gr/news/politics/article/5023292/sfodres-antidraseis-twn-kommatwn-gia-to-loyketo-sthn-ert/. See also the reaction of the unions of Administrative Judges and of the Court of Audit for the closure of ERT, “The rule of law is not established through acts of legislative content” [in Greek], Eleftherotypia, 14 June 2013, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=369551.

[15] Cf.  Act  OJ  Α’  139/11.6.2013,  available  at http://www.dsanet.gr/Epikairothta/Nomothesia/

pnp11_6.htm. This act was the legal basis of the Decision 02/11.6.2013, “Suppression of the public

enterprise Greek Radio – Television, A.E. (ERT-A.E.)”, OJ B’ 1414/11.6.2013, issued the next day. Cf. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-greece-idUSBRE95K0IJ20130621, http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2013/06/25/nouveau-gouvernement-de-coalition-en-grece-pour-garantir-la-stabilite_3436423_3214.html .

[16] See the question concerning the implementation of the balanced budget rule in the section “Fiscal Compact” (question IX.4).

[17] Xenophon Contiades and Ioannis Tassopoulos, “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Greek Constitution”, in Xenophon Contiades (ed.), Constitutions in the Global Financial Crisis (Ashgate 2013),  chapter 7, 195.

[18] The last Constitutional revision took place in 2008, 8th Revisionary Parliament, Resolution of the 27th of May 2008, ΦΕΚ Α 102/2.6.2008. Source of translation: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/f3c70a23-7696-49db-9148-f24dce6a27c8/001-156%20aggliko.pdf

[19] Xenophon Contiades and Ioannis Tassopoulos, op.cit.

[20] Cf. the relevant question II.1 in the section “Changes to the budgetary process”.

[21] Xenophon Contiades and Ioannis Tassopoulos, “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Greek Constitution”, in Xenophon Contiades (ed.), Constitutions in the Global Financial Crisis (Ashgate 2013),  chapter 7, 195.

[22] Source of translation: http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/UserFiles/f3c70a23-7696-49db-9148-f24dce6a27c8/001-156%20aggliko.pdf

[23] For this question, see question III.8.

[24] On this matter, see question IX.4.

[25] See question III.6.

[26] See question IX.4.

[27] For example, the Fiscal Compact is perceived as a part of European law in the relevant parliamentary debates, and even by academics. Cf. the debates on the 28th of March 2012, during the ratification of the Fiscal Compact, Πρακτικά Βουλής (Ολομέλεια), Συνεδρίαση ΡΙΣΤ’, Τετάρτη, 28 Μαρτίου 2012, 8004 available at http://www.hellenicparliament.gr/Praktika/Synedriaseis-Olomeleias?search=on&DateFrom=28%2F03%2F2012&DateTo=28%2F03%2F2012, 8030. See also the newspaper article by Petros Stagkos, Professor of European Law in the University of Thessaloniki, “Constitution and “golden rule”” [in Greek], Ta Nea, 19 February 2013, http://www.tanea.gr/opinions/all-opinions/article/5001990/syntagma-kai-xrysos-kanonas/.

[28] Though the Government approves and delegates their signature by the Minister of Finance and other executive authorities through administrative acts of legislative content, which subsequently introduces to Parliament for ratification. On this constitutional “acrobatic”, see the question X.3 on the status of the financial assistance instruments.

[29] Usually, before the implementation of austerity measures, there is a “thriller” in the media concerning the negotiations between the Government and the “troika”, who always has very strict requirements. Concerning the negotiations between the new Minister of Administrative Reform, Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the “troika” on the mobility scheme for public sector workers, “Troika deal within reach as talks on public sector reforms get under way”, ekathimerini.com,  3 July 2012, http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_03/07/2013_507327 ; “Greece, troika agree to public sector worker dismissal reserve”, ekathimerini.com, 9 July 2013, http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite1_1_09/07/2013_508286.

[30] Cf. the relevant question X.3 on the status of the financial assistance instruments.

[31] Plenum decision, 28 April 2014. Cf. question X.9.

[32] Cf. “Al. Tsipras: Memorandum or SYRIZA”[in Greek], To Vima, 10 July 2013, http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=521748; Notis Marias, “Referendum for the Amendment of the Lisbon Treaty” [in Greek], Epikaira, 24 March 2011, http://www.epikaira.gr/epikairo.php?id=15885

[33] See for example the press release of GSEE (General Confederation of Greek Workers), http://www.gsee.gr/news/news_view.php?id=1757&year=&month=&key=%EC%ED%E7%EC%FC%ED%E9%EF&page=0&limit=10, on the 16th of February 2012, concerning the MoU II. See also the site of ADEDY (Confederation of Civil Servants’ Unions), www.adedy.gr.

[34] The Athens Bar Association has organized many conferences on the constitutional questions raised by the MoU. For example, the conference on the 15th of June 2010, “Memorandum, Constitution, European Treaty, and ECHR”. The Volos Bar Association is also active in the public debate. See for example, “The Memorandum has been voted through an unconstitutional procedure” [in Greek], Eleftherotypia, 12 August 2010, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=192485.

[35] On the academic –which is also political, given the politicization of the constitutional doctrine in Greece- debate concerning the first MoU, see Kostas Botopoulos, “Common sense and gaps in the ‘Memorandum Decision” [in Greek], op. cit. and the bibliography cited. In this debate, many important constitutionalists have defended the unconstitutionality of the MoU. See also Giorgos Katrougkalos, “The ‘Paraconstitution’ of the Memorandum and the Other Way” [in Greek], Nomiko Vima, February 2011. See also George Katrougalos, The Greek Austerity Measures: Violations of Socio-Economic Rights, Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, January 29, 2013, available at: http://www.iconnectblog.com/2013/01/the-greek-austerity-measures-violations-of-socio-economic-rights. Concerning the second MoU, voted in February 2012, five important constitutionalists made a common statement on its unconstitutionality. See “The Memorandum is unconstitutional” [in Greek], news247, 12 February 2012, http://news247.gr/eidiseis/oikonomia/antisyntagmatiko_to_mnhmonio.1638556.html.

[36] “Personalities from the Left against the Memorandum”, To Vima, 7 July 2010, http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=341868. Concerning the third MoU, voted in November 2012, see the opinion of Kostas Chrysogonos, Professor of Constitutional Law in the University of Thessaloniki, after the question of Alexis Tsipras, President of SY.RIZ.A. in “Chrysogonos: Why the Memorandum III is unconstitutional” [in Greek], news247, 8 November 2012, http://news247.gr/eidiseis/koinonia/xrysogonos_giati_einai_antisyntagmatiko_to_mnhmonio_iii.2001637.html.

[37] “Scientific Service of the Parliament: the Memorandum is Unconstitutional” [in Greek], I Avgi, 13 February 2012, http://archive.avgi.gr/ArticleActionshow.action?articleID=669174.

[38] See the questions concerning the ratification procedure of the various legal instruments.

[39] See question III.1.

[40] See the relevant questions, especially concerning financial assistance to Greece.

[41] Concerning the first MoU, “Deliberation in the Council of State concerning the recourses against the Memorandum” [in Greek], “http://www.constitutionalism.gr/site/1774-syzitisi-sto-ste-twn-prosfygwn-kata-toy-mnimonioy/, “The Memorandum faces the Constitution” [in Greek], http://www.newstime.gr/?i=nt.el.article&id=50074. Concerning the second MoU, “The Memorandum 2 sticks to the Council of State” [in Greek], Eleftherotypia, 3 April 2013, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=354820. Concerning the third MoU, “The judges make recourse to the Council of State against the Memorandum” [in Greek], I Kathimerini, 7 July 2013, http://www.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_kathremote_1_13/01/2013_478242; “University professors make recourse to the Council of State against the Memorandum”, in.gr, 10 July 2012, http://news.in.gr/greece/article/?aid=1231256894.

[42] See the report of the High Level Mission of the ILO for Greece, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@ed_norm/@normes/documents/missionreport/wcms_170433.pdf, and the speech of the Director General of the ILO, http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/who-we-are/ilo-director-general/statements-and-speeches/WCMS_216803/lang–en/index.htm

[43] See Xenophon Contiades, “The return of judges” [in Greek], Ethnos, 17 July 2012, http://www.contiades.gr/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1026.

[44] See question X.9.

[45] See the questions concerning the financial assistance instruments (questions X.1 and following).

[46] See the parliamentary debates cited in the questions concerning the implementation of the specific Euro-crisis law instruments.

[47] Tryfon Koutalidis, “Unconceivable consequences if the Memorandum is declared unconstitutional” [in Greek], Forum, May 2011. See also the interview of the Associate Minister of Finance, Pantelis Oikonomou, to the journalist Nikos Chatzinikolaou, http://www.minfin.gr/portal/el/resource/contentObject/id/6ad8a79e-6576-47f1-9628-9e5bcd2f1ce4.

[48] www.dsanet.gr/Epikairothta/Nomologia/668.htm.

[49] Point 28 of the decision.

[50] Chrysogonos argues that such an amendment would not be possible because of the eternity clause of the Greek Constitution (art. 110) imposing the eternity of the most fundamental constitutional provisions. See Kostas Chrysogonos, «Η χαμένη τιμή της Ελληνικής Δημοκρατίας. Ο μηχανισμός «στήριξης της ελληνικής οικονομίας» από την οπτική της εθνικής κυριαρχίας και της δημοκρατικής αρχής [The lost honour of the Hellenic Republic. The “rescue” mechanism of the Greek economy from the point of view of national sovereignty and of the principle of democracy]»,  ΝοΒ 58 [2010] p. 1356

[51] Cf. for PA.SO.K. http://archive.pasok.gr/portal/resource/contentObject/id/81e35a51-16d6-4e6ebb0f-5acc818085e5 . For N.D. see “The 31 proposals by ND for the Constitutional Amendment” [in Greek], real.gr, 29 July 2011, http://www.real.gr/DefaultArthro.aspx?page=arthro&id=83283&catID=1

[52] Cf. the propositions of PA.SO.K. in June 2012 for a “New Form of Polity” http://archive.pasok.gr/portal/resource/contentObject/id/81e35a51-16d6-4e6e-bb0f-5acc818085e5

[53] See question IX.4.

[54] Xenophon Contiades and Ioannis Tassopoulos, “The Impact of the Financial Crisis on the Greek Constitution”, in Xenophon Contiades (ed.), Constitutions in the Global Financial Crisis (Ashgate 2013),  chapter 7, 195.

[55]See the proposition of N.D. in the stage of public deliberation on the internet http://www.nd.gr/web/oi_protaseis_mas_gia_ti_suntagmatiki_anatheorisi__gia_na_anoiksei_o_dromos_gia_ti_nea_metapoliteusi See also, “Proposition by Stylianidis for radical constitutional amendment” [in Greek], To Vima, 10 April 2013, http://www.tovima.gr/politics/article/?aid=507157 . See also for the propositions by SY.RIZ.A., “The propositions of the Opposition for the political system-constitutional amendment”, I Avgi, 29 June 2013, http://www.avgi.gr/article/539667/oi-protaseis-tis-axiomatikis-antipoliteusis-gia-to-politiko-sustima-suntagmatiki-anatheorisi .

[56] Giannis Drosos, «ΤοΜνημόνιοως σημείο στροφής του πολιτεύματος [The ‘Memorandum’ as a turning point of the regime]», www.constitutionalism.gr, published in The Book’s Journal, Vol. 6, April 2011, 42.

[57] Lina Papadopoulou, “Can Constitutional Rules, Even if ‘Golden’, Tame Greek Public Debt?”, in Maurice Adams, Federico Fabbrini and Pierre Larouche (eds), The Constitutionalization of European Budgetary Constraints, Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2014, 223, 239.

[58] Kostas Giannakopoulos, «Μεταξύ εθνικής και ενωσιακής έννομης τάξης: το «Μνημόνιο» ως αναπαραγωγή της κρίσης του κράτους δικαίου [Between National and EU Legal Order : theMemorandumas a Reproduction of the Rule of Law Crisis]», www.constitutionalism.gr, p. 5: «Η αναφορά –έστω και έμμεση- των κυβερνώντων στην εφαρμογή του ασαφούς, από άποψη κανονιστικής ισχύος, Μνημονίου της 3ης Μαΐου 2010, έφτασε να υποκαταστήση πλήρως την επιβαλλόμενη στάθμιση συνταγματικών κανόνων και αρχών.»,

[59] The example of the suppression of the public service of radio and television through an administrative act is a typical example of this case. For the interpretation of the scope and protection constitutional rights before the crisis see, among others, Prodromos Dagtoglou, Individual Rights, 2 vols., 2nd ed., (Athens-Komotini: Ant. N. Sakkoulas 2005) [in Greek], Kostas Chrysogonos, Individual and Social Rights, 2nd ed., (Athens-Komotini: Ant. N. Sakkoulas 2002) [in Greek]. For the extended powers of the executive as a result of the economic crisis, see Lina Papadopoulou, op.cit., section “Executive Unbound?”, 236 f.

[60] Antonis Manitakis, «Η κατάρρευση του μεταπολιτευτικού πολιτικού συστήματος [The collapse of the Metapolitefsi political regime]», www.constitutionalism.gr

[61] The Greek Constitution has been amended in 2001 and in 2008: 7th Revisionary Parliament, Resolution of the 6th of April 2001 (ΦΕΚ 84 Α/17.4.2001), 8th Revisionary Parliament, Resolution of the 27th May 2008 (ΦΕΚ 102 A/2.6.2008).