President Katerina Sakellaropoulou today signed a legislative decree that was drafted by the government in order to, as it said, “address the exceptionally urgent need to adopt regulations to bolster the integrity of the National Intelligence Service [EYP].”
The issuance of the decree was announced yesterday by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis who said he would proceed with a shakeup of EYP (photo) after it was revealed that it tapped the phone of later PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis, during the party leadership campaign. Mitsotakis said the tapping was legal but politically wrong.
The decree states that the governor [director] of EYP is a grade 1, non-permanent [removable] employee who is freely appointed and fired upon the decision of the competent member of the government.
Parliamentary advisory role in appointment of EYP chief
For the first time, the decree gives the competent parliamentary committee on institutions and transparency a say in the appointment of the EYP chief, as it will have the right to offer an opinion.
Hence, the decree gives Parliament an advisory role but not the power of consent, so it will not have the right to veto the government’s appointee.
As for the new EYP chief, Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris, who was appointed immediately after the 5 August resignation of his predecessor, Panagiotis Kontoleon, Parliament will have 45 days, from today’s publication of the decree in the Government Gazette, to deliver its opinion.
Condition’s for EYP’s surveillance
Article 2 of the decree defines the conditions under which EYP can lift the restrictions enshrined in the constitutional guarantee of the privacy of citizen’s communications and correspondence, in order to conduct surveillance of citizens with audio and video devices outside their home.
A request for surveillance must now be submitted to an appellate court prosecutor attached to EYP within 24 hours and the approval takes effect immediately after the prosecutor signs the order.