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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsThe Countless Times Greece Was Convicted by EU Courts

The Countless Times Greece Was Convicted by EU Courts

Greece EU courtsGreece has been convicted many times in the past decade by EU courts on issues ranging from environmental protection and labor rights to human rights and railway infrastructure.

Most recently, Greece was summoned to the EU Court of Justice for failures in its railway infrastructure just two weeks before a fatal train crash killed at least 57 people.

Although the Court has not issued a ruling yet, the European Commission is concerned that Greece was “failing to fulfill its obligations under the Single European Area Directive” with regard to its railway management.

This is just the latest of a series of infringements of EU laws by Athens.

Greece and EU courts

There are two main courts in Europe: the first, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU)  ensures EU law is interpreted and applied the same way in every EU country, ensuring countries and EU institutions abide by EU law. Located in Luxemburg it can also, in certain circumstances, be used by individuals, companies or organizations to take action against an EU institution, if they feel it has somehow infringed their rights.

The second is the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Based in Strasbourg it interprets the European Convention on Human Rights. The court hears applications alleging that a contracting state has breached one or more of the human rights enumerated in the Convention, or its optional protocols, to which a member state is a party. An application can be lodged by an individual, a group of individuals, or one or more of the other contracting states.

Both courts have convicted Greece many times. Here are some examples:

Court of Justice and Greece


Greece was convicted for failing to draw up and adopt a hazardous-waste management plan that accords with the requirements of the relevant Community legislation.

It was also convicted for failing to establish an integrated and adequate network of disposal installations for hazardous waste to ensure that such waste be disposed of by means of the most appropriate methods, in order to afford a high level of protection to the environment and public health.


The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) found that Greece, in violation of EU law, allowed doctors to work in hospitals for 24 hours or more continuously, without rest periods.

Furthermore, Greece failed to implement weekly working hours not exceeding 48 hours, establishing neither a minimum daily rest time nor a compensatory rest period.


Greece was ordered by the European Court to pay €10m ($11m) and another €30,000 per day for not following rules on disposing of rubbish.

As much as 80% of waste ends up at Greek landfill sites, according to a 2010 report. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said the government had not complied with several deadlines to improve.

Greece was in constant violation of EU waste disposal rules, failing to comply with several deadlines that required the country to improve.


The European Court of Justice required Greece’s farmers to repay 425 million euros in emergency aid to Athens authorities, confirming a decision that the money was an illegal state subsidy.

The aid was given to Greek farmers in 2009 as a subsidy after bad weather destroyed crops. About 800,000 farmers received the aid, but the European anti-trust regulator declared the funds an illegal state subsidy.


Greece was convicted of undermining the free movement of capital enshrined in EU regulations.

The EU court suggested that allowing a minister to overrule a company’s decision to make mass dismissals is not compatible with EU legislation, even if the country in question is going through an economic crisis.


Greece was convicted for failing to recover the state aid granted to Ellinika Nafpigeia, the owner of a Greek civil and military shipyard in Skaramagkas, south of Athens.

Greece was ordered to pay a lump sum of €10 million and a periodic penalty payment of more than €7 million for every six months of delay.


Greece was convicted because it did not ensure equivalent access to state structures for persons with disabilities.


Greece was ordered to make a lump sum payment of €5 500 000 and periodic penalty payments of over €4 000 000 for every six months’ delay for failure to recover state aid granted to Larco.

Larco is a Greek mining and metallurgical undertaking specializing in the extraction and processing of laterite ore, the extraction of lignite and the production of ferronickel.


Greece was convicted for failing to set conservation targets for protected habitats, a process that should have been completed by 2012.

The country has been reluctant to implement substantial environmental protection measures for years.

Specifically, the court said 81.5 percent of Greece’s protected habitats were not covered by any measure, in accordance with the general framework established in 2011, which stipulates the implementation of specific measures.


Finding that Greece’s nitrogen dioxide limits were systematically exceeded between 2010 and 2020, the European Commission has condemned Athens over its poor air quality and for failing to take the necessary measures.

Based on Greece’s annual air quality reports for the period 2010-2016, the Commission launched proceedings against the country in 2019 after finding that NO2 limits were systematically exceeded in Athens.

Greece ultimately failed to convince the Commission, and new data for 2016-2020 confirmed air pollution remained at high levels.

European Court of Human Rights and Greece

Greece’s convictions at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) amount to 948, according to the Greek judge of the Court Yiannis Ktistakis.

During a recent briefing of the Parliamentary Committee for the Monitoring of the Decisions of the Court of Human Rights, Ktistakis attributed the low position of Greece in this field to our country’s non-compliance with the sentencing decisions and its inability to eliminate the hotbeds that multiply human rights violations.

As he said, a telling comparison can be made with Belgium, a country that has many similarities with Greece, and not only in terms of population.

“Belgium has only 285 convictions compared to Greece’s 948 and only 234 pending appeals today as we speak, compared to Greece’s 2,214. In the numbers, Belgium in the last decade 2011-2021, paid 1,745,909 euros for compensation awarded by the European Court, while Greece paid six times more, 28,256,237 euros,” he explained.

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