Greek Government Refuses to Ratify Schengen Accord Due to Requirement to Maintain Electronic Files and Infringement on Greek Privacy Law

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Monday, April 1, 1996
Bruce Zagaris
On March 15, 1996, the Greek Justice Minister Mr. Evangelos Venizelos told the European Parliament that, notwithstanding the signing by its conservative predecessor, the current Greek (socialist) Government would not ratify the Schengen Accord because privacy laws in Greece would be violated by a computer data base in Strasbourg that is being established to prevent criminals from illegally moving through the Schengen signatory countries.1 In particular, Venizelos stated the accord would violate a Greek law prohibiting public agencies, with the exception of the tax authorities, from maintaining electronic files on private citizens. The Greek refusal to ratify Schengen adds to the overriding problem that the United Kingdom Government has refused to agree on a role for the European Court of Justice to adjudicate application of the Schengen Accord, such as when individuals complain that collection and exchange of data violate privacy rights...(more)