On behalf of President Sassoli, who has tasked me to follow up on your letter expressing
concerns about police brutality in Greece, I would like, first, to thank you for sharing this
The European Parliament, including of course its LIBE Committee, is aware that the
exceptional measures adopted by Member States in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic
have had a significant impact on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the
European Union, and have affected the exercise of individual rights and freedoms. In relevant
resolutions1 on this topic the Parliament “draws the attention to Member States to enforce the
COVID-19 related measures with due regard to the proportionality of the enforcement
measures”. Moreover, it is underlined that law enforcement officials must respect and protect
human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons while performing their
duty as the foremost task of police forces is to ensure the safety of citizens, and to ensure
protests are conducted in peaceful manner.
In its debates and resolutions on the situation of fundamental rights in the Union, including
the impact of COVID 19 measures, the Parliament condemns the use of violent and
disproportionate interventions by law enforcement authorities during peaceful demonstrations
and calls for the use of force by law enforcement authorities to be “always lawful,
proportionate, necessary and the last resort”, and to preserve physical integrity. It also calls
on national authorities “in cases when the use of disproportionate force is suspected or has
been alleged, to ensure a transparent, impartial, independent and effective investigation, and
avoid impunity”. In this sense, I expect that the Greek authorities will ensure that in all such
cases a thorough and effective investigation will be conducted, as well as the implementation
of the relevant sanctions where appropriate.
Regarding relevant media reporting, and more generally the issue of media independence,
the LIBE Committee has been recently at the origin of a resolution2 where Parliament stresses
once again the need to ensure media independence from political interference and avoid
media capture, also as a means of withholding EU fundamental values enshrined in Article 2
1 Resolution of 13 November 2020 on the impact of COVID-19 measures on democracy, the rule of law and
fundamental rights; resolution of 26 November 2020 on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU- Annual
Report for the years 2018 - 2019.
2 Resolution of 25 November 2020 on strengthening media freedom: the protection of journalists in Europe, hate
speech, disinformation and the role of platforms.
TEU. It also “stresses that public authorities must ensure transparency with regard to their
activities, thereby helping to bolster public confidence, given that the free flow of information
helps to protect life and health and facilitates and promotes social, economic and political
debate and decision-making”. Concerning the particular situation in Greece, I wish to express
my condemnation of the recent assassination of Mr. Karaivaz, Greek investigative journalist,
to convey my condolences to his family and to express my deep concerns that arise from the
issue and the media situation as a whole. I can only assure you that our Committee will keep
a close eye on these important matters.
As you know, since some time our Committee has set up a dedicated Group in order to monitor
the situation of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in all the Member States in
a regular and organised manner (the Democracy, Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights
Monitoring Group - DRFMG). A specific session dedicated to “Disproportional use of the force
by police in the EU” is planned to be organised by this Working Group as part of its monitoring
activities before the summer break. Media freedom has also been raised in this forum at
multiple occasions, as a topical issue more generally, as well as in relation to the situation in
specific Member States.
You may be assured that the situation will be followed with all the necessary attention in the
work of the LIBE Committee.
Juan Fernando LÓPEZ AGUILAR
cc. David Sassoli, President of the Euro