MEPs clash over Greek broadcaster closure

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MEPs have clashed during a debate on 3 July 2013 on the recent closure of the Greek state broadcaster, ERT.

The broadcaster was closed by the Greek governing New Democracy party last month after accusations that it was suffering from mismanagement and waste.

The closure saw nearly 2,700 jobs go, with viewers seeing the TV screen go black as the signal was switched off.

Co-leader of the Green group, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, laid the blame for the closure with the Troika - made up of the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank - which oversees the bailout programme.

"As soon as there was pressure from the Troika, [the Greek prime minister] Antonis Samaras had to find a solution, and it was a solution that the citizens had to be paid for".

But the Commission vice-president, Maros Sefcovic insisted the decision was taken "in full autonomy by the Greek government".

Greek socialist MEP Nikolaos Chountis described the closure as a "barbaric" decision, but the government's decision was defended by Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, an MEP from the governing New Democracy party.

She criticised ERT as "a big public service organisation that was administratively unwieldy and economically unviable, on strike for weeks", and said the Greek government would replace it with a smaller broadcaster later in the year, following a recommendation by a Greek court.

The row has threatened to topple the Greek government and force snap elections, which could have political implications for the wider Eurozone.

Useful links:

The European Parliament's disclaimer on the use of simultaneous interpretations can be found here.

Read Democracy Live's guide to how the plenary sessions work here.

A full speaker's list can be found here.

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