Ministry of Foreign Affairs announcement regarding the handling of confidential documents

In recent days, a great deal of inaccurate information has been circulated by persons who are supposedly knowledgeable about the procedure governing the classification and declassification of state documents. In this regard, and to avert further misunderstandings, we note the following:

According to the relevant legislation:

1) The issuing authority has sole competency for classifying a document as confidential.

2) A key criterion for choosing the level of classification is evaluation of the contents of the document based on the damage that could be done to national interests if these contents were to be made public. When a document is classified, it is subject to the restrictions laid down in the National Security Regulation.

3) As concerns the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there is provision for exceptional declassification of a document, provided there are service-related reasons or overriding national interest. The declassification is carried out by decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, following a reasoned opinion from the Declassification Committee, which is convened by decision of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Consequently, the interpretation of the content, and the arbitrary ‘classification’ of a state document by unauthorized persons who appear in the media, is certainly no substitute for the declassification procedure provided for by law.

The above is nothing more than a reference to the relevant legislation. We, therefore, do not understand certain parties’ claims that the non-disclosure of confidential documents is anti-democratic and brings to mind legislation on espionage.

If these parties believe that the implementation of the laws of the Hellenic State is a threat to democracy, then, rather than accusing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs �which invokes and implements the laws of the Hellenic State� they should request a change in the law and explain why and for what reason they themselves voted in favour of it in the first place.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic