NEWS

Verdict due on former monarchy

The European Court of Human Rights is expected to announce its ruling today on the compensation that the Greek State must provide to the former king, Constantine, his sister Irene and their aunt Ekaterini for confiscating their property in 1994. Government officials have expressed optimism in private that the amount will be well below the 494 million euros that the three have asked for. The verdict, which is final, is expected at 4 p.m. and Prime Minister Costas Simitis is expected to make a statement shortly afterward. On November 23, 2000, the ECHR had found that the Greek State had violated the applicants’ right of property with Law 2215/1994 which came into effect on May 11, 1994. While it accepted that the State had confiscated their property for the public benefit, the law did not make any provision for compensation. The contested estates are at Tatoi near Athens, Polydendri in central Greece and Mon Repos on Corfu. The government, however, was confident that the amount of compensation Greece would have to pay would be manageable. It has argued that the former royal family enjoyed extensive tax privileges in the past. «The work that has been done in dealing with the claims of the former king makes us especially confident,» government spokesman Christos Protopappas said yesterday. He attributed a Foreign Ministry announcement on Tuesday which described the legal contest in detail as an effort to «provide good information on all that the government has done to serve the Greek people’s interests.» The New Democracy party, however, kept up its accusations that in passing the law the government had opened up Greece to condemnation. «The government is trying to shift the blame for its amateurism onto the European Court,» ND spokesman Theodoris Roussopoulos said.