Debate on a draft justice ministry bill on data privacy began in the Greek parliament on Friday, with Greece facing referral to the European Court of Justice and large fines for its delay in incorporating EU legislation on the processing of private information into national law. In light of the potential financial burden on taxpayers, the government has requested fast-track processing of the bill in parliament.
Presenting the case for fast-tracking the bill, Justice Minister Kostas Tsiaras noted that Greece has already been referred to the European court on this issue and, in the case of a conviction, could face a one-off fine of 1.3 million euros and a daily fine of 5,287 euros. If the case goes to appeal, he added, the daily fine could rise to 22,169 euros.
The chairman of the Standing Committee for Public Administration, Public Order and Justice Maximos Harakopoulos confirmed that the procedures at the European Commission to impose fines on Greece have already been initiated and are quite advanced, agreeing that the bill needed to be fast-tracked but urging the government to ensure prompt harmonisation with EU legislation to avoid this necessity.
The request was also backed by the ruling majority's rapporteur Giorgos Kotsiras but opposed by all parties in the opposition.
Main opposition SYRIZA rapporteur George Katrougalos said that the debate on the bill should follow the standard procedure since the incorporation of the data privacy directive "creates many problems that led to the non-valid vote on its incorporation by the previous government".