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ERT Closure Constitutional, Council of State Ruling Finds

ertThe Council of State, Greece ‘s supreme administrative court, in a ruling published on Sunday found that the closure of the state broadcaster ERT on June 12, 2013 was “constitutional, legal and not contrary to European legislation.” The decision was taken by a majority of 15 votes in favor and 10 against.
The CoS plenum rejected a petition by the ERT staff union POSPERT and its president Panagiotis Kalfagiannis that it declare the broadcaster’s closure unconstitutional.
Based on the reasoning of the decision published, ERT was included in a list of “non-essential state organizations” pegged for closure, merger or reform in the framework of a state overhaul and downsizing, while the requirement to operate a public broadcasting body did not emerge from the dictates of the Constitution, so its closure did not contravene article 15 of the Constitution.
It also noted that the abolition of ERT was carried out with the intention of founding a new broadcaster and that, during the interim, a transitional public television organization had been in operation.
Conversely, the 10 justices that voted against found that the abolition of ERT contravened article 15 of the Constitution, saying the legislature did not have the right to abolish the state broadcasting body and especially not indefinitely. They also highlighted the fact that private radio and television channels were currently operating illegally with the state’s tolerance.
In addition, the CoS unanimously ruled that domestic and European legal limits on mass dismissals did not apply to staff employed in public-sector organizations exercising public authority, such as the civil service, local authorities and public-sector legal entities – including ERT.
(source: ana-mpa)

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