Greece At Impasse Over Broadcaster ERT; Coalition Government Under Threat

Greek officials failed to reach an agreement on the status of public broadcaster ERT on Thursday night, throwing the coalition government into further disarray. Following the abrupt closure of the broadcaster by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on June 11, the Council of State earlier this week ordered ERT back on air until a restructured service is established. But Samaras and his coalition partners, the Socialist PASOK party and the Democratic Left, have failed to reach a compromise. The Left’s Fotis Kouvelis has indicated he might withdraw from the government, which would leave the coalition with only a 3-person majority in the unstable nation’s Parliament. A crisis meeting amongst MPs was underway Friday morning. Samaras said on Thursday that he offered to reinstate about 2,000 of the 2,600 ERT workers who were fired as a result of the closure. PASOK agreed, but the Left balked, according to Reuters. “We will no longer have black screens on state TV channels but we are not going to return to the sinful regime,” Samaras said. ERT has been criticized as a bloated organization whose pre-financial crisis ranks included 100 on-air presenters earning about $650,000 a year, The New York Times reported. Samaras needs to show EU and IMF officials that Greece is making good on its promised objective of slashing several thousands of jobs by the end of next year. The network’s programming includes children’s blocks with a significant amount of Disney fare, culture shows and documentaries, foreign programming, soaps and series like Downton Abbey.

This article was printed from