Evangelos Venizelos: What does he answer to those who accused him of “becoming SYRIZA”

Evangelos Venizelos: What does he answer to those who accused him of “becoming SYRIZA”
Evangelos Venizelos: What does he answer to those who accused him of “becoming SYRIZA”

With his article in the newspaper “TA NEA Savvatokyriako” Evangelos Venizelos returns to the issue of monitoring Androulakis and insists on his opinion that it is illegal and uninstitutional to monitor politicians. He also responds to those who accused him of grist to the SYRIZA mill.

Those who encourage or tolerate publications of the type “Venizelos became SYRIZA” lack political and intellectual seriousness. And they certainly don’t have anti-SYRIZA campaign flags comparable to mine. Let them recover in time“, characteristically writes Mr. Venizelos.

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Read his full article:

Let’s reframe the big picture. N. Androulakis complains that, as the technical services of the European Parliament found, an attempt was made to monitor his mobile phone using the illegal Predator software. The Greek authorities are not accused of anything. The Institutions and Transparency Committee summons the EYP commander to a hearing, who appears accompanied by two ministers and assures the Parliament that N. Androulakis is not being monitored. Two days later, the Prime Minister fires the commander of the EYP and the Secretary General – head of his office because it is revealed, through an investigation by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, that the EYP, with the approval of the public prosecutor’s office, was “officially” monitoring an MEP candidate leader of his party until he was elected and a few more days, for “national security” reasons. Not related to any crime, just to get information.

The political climate is worsening with the sole responsibility of the government. There are rumors that the surveillance was requested by the services of friendly countries but these are solemnly denied. The victim of the surveillance is called to be informed by the new commander of the EYP, but the government representative considers it very likely that the relevant data has been destroyed, while the Minister of State states that no one knows the reason for the surveillance. The Prime Minister, however, obviously knows the reason and the content of the surveillance, which he considers politically unacceptable and incorrect, so much so that it leads to the immediate dismissal of his closest associate, who, despite being a deputized official, assumes the “objective” political responsibility. The Prime Minister is also aware that his own law does not allow ADAE from 2021 to update the monitoring target retrospectively if it was done for reasons of national security. He knows that “legally” no one can inform N. Androulakis. The PNP that was issued with urgent – supposedly – legislative changes did not restore the possibility of legal information through the AIAE nor did it establish a remedy for the ex post judicial review of the legality of the monitoring decision.

The Government’s theory is that the surveillance was “formally adequate,” that is, “lawful” since it had been authorized by a prosecutor. However, according to the Government, the monitoring was unjustified, politically unacceptable, wrong, it should not have been done and for this reason the commander of the EYP was dismissed and resigned assuming the “objective” political responsibility in place of the prime minister / supervising minister of the EYP, the Secretary General . An act that constitutes a limitation of a fundamental right and which is unjustified, incorrect and politically unacceptable is an act that violates the principle of proportionality, that is, it is an illegal act.

This is difficult to understand circles that say publicly that since the surveillance was approved by the prosecutor of appeals established in the EYP, it is legal and let N. Androulakis tell us what he did and was being monitored! None of them think that the Prime Minister fired two of his close associates and considered the monitoring to be absolutely wrong, from which he wanted to distance himself completely, regardless of the fact of the prosecutor’s approval.

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While the Prime Minister himself officially opened the debate on the special guarantees of removing the privacy of political figures, that is, he was in favor of their special treatment, the Government, in the name of anti-parliamentary populism, wants absolute equality for everyone in surveillance. What they are saying is that the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, ministers and party leaders should be treated like any foreigner possibly connected to espionage! So could the Tsipras government monitor Mr. Mitsotakis and the Mitsotakis government monitor Mr. Tsipras in the name of equality before reasons of national security! The discussion is of course without any real object because there is not a single political figure in Greece who says essential things on his mobile phone or with the mobile phone in the same place. Everyone thinks they are being watched, at least potentially. Anyone who has a different feeling, let them say so.

Constitutionalists are getting annoying with their sensitivities all attributed to political expediency. The government says the legality is decided by the courts. Right. To which court is N. Androulakis expected to appeal? How would he have appealed if the gross violation of his fundamental rights had not been revealed after the fact and through the Human Rights Act? There is no special remedy or remedies to be exhausted! Fortunately, there is the ECtHR in Strasbourg. Fortunately, there are general remedies available.

Instead of everyone sadly admitting that in the case of Androulakis all the guarantees required by Strasbourg jurisprudence were blatantly violated in order for it to be legal to remove the privacy of any person’s communications, emphasis is placed on his political status, which was invoked by the Prime Minister and not the victim!

Instead of strengthening the role of the Institutions and Transparency Committee and shielding the inquiry committee that was set up with the mere tolerance of the government majority, some want to establish the possibility of the EYP to monitor for “national security” reasons the parliamentarians including the members of the committees that control the EYP and the leaders of the parties who, according to article 5 par. 4 of Law 2225/1994, must be informed through ADAE of “every case” of lifting of confidentiality. Unfortunately, the provision exists but is not implemented.

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I reacted against this situation, full of contradictions and dangerous institutional slippages, as required by my hard experience from the period 2015-2019 when we fought for Greece to remain a European liberal democracy, my scientific status and what I have supported in research and in addition the my capacity as a former president of PASOK who sees the unprecedented treatment reserved by the Government to the current President of PASOK and through him to a historical faction that carried a disproportionately large burden in the period 2010-2019. Mr. Mitsotakis personally, as a minister of the Samaras-Venizelos government and as leader of the ND, has no right to forget this. Those who encourage or tolerate publications of the type “Venizelos became SYRIZA” lack political and intellectual seriousness. And they certainly don’t have anti-SYRIZA campaign flags comparable to mine. Let them recover in time.

Yes, some say, “but the priority is stability, preventing the return of SYRIZA to power” And they add, “besides, the interest in wiretapping is according to polls reduced, the difference between the two largest parties is still clear, not PASOK did not gain anything important from the victimization of Androulakis”.

There is no political stability without stability of institutions. Without a real and unassailable rule of law, there is no reliable and secure democracy, and without democracy there is no development perspective, no foreign policy, and no social inclusiveness. And the Novartis affair has been low in the polls, while the threat of the climate crisis lags behind anxiety over electricity prices.

The issue is not the low position of wiretapping in the polls, but the lowering of the leverage of the quality requirements of some who are ready to accept institutional discounts in case SYRIZA is strengthened! So that SYRIZA is not strengthened, let’s close our eyes to criminal actions and our ears to provocative arguments.

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The most paradoxical thing, however, is the way in which the electoral goal of self-reliance, that is, of a one-party government, is now set. It is stated as absolutely necessary because the management of the wiretapping case by the Government obviously made it more difficult to seek consent and collaborative solutions! The priority is not to reduce the polarization caused by the wiretapping case, but to exacerbate it. In fact, some now want a “self-sufficient” one-party government that will be able, for reasons of national security, to monitor its political opponents without guilt with the approval of more than two prosecutors, but always anonymously and without justification!

I hope nervous and deeply awkward arrogance as an extreme form of populism is not the sediment left by the wiretapping affair. I hope that the national seriousness and genuine European political perspective of the country has not been definitively intercepted.

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Evangelos Venizelos answer accused SYRIZA

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