Pubdate: 19 Jan 1999
Source: Reuters
Copyright: 1999 Reuters Limited.


ATHENS, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Greece was told on Tuesday to end its automatic
bar for life on nationals of other European Union countries who are busted
for drugs on its soil.

The Luxembourg-based European Court of Justice ruled that a law preventing
foreigners from ever returning to Greece if they are convicted there for
drugs was in violation of the EU's fundamental freedoms.

The case was brought by Donatella Calfa, an Italian who was arrested and
convicted in Crete for possessing illegal drugs for personal use. She was
sentenced to three months in prison and deported for life.

Greece attracts hundreds of thousands of European and other tourists each
year to sun-drenched islands known for their laid-back atmosphere. But its
police enforce a strict anti-drug policy.

The Greek law required courts to expel foreign drug users unless there were
special circumstances such as family ties.

In a statement, the court said EU member states can invoke public policy as
justification for limiting freedoms in certain circumstances. But the fact
of a conviction is not enough; the person involved must be judged to pose a

"The Greek legislation at issue constitutes an obstacle to the freedom to
provide services, to the freedom of movement for workers and to the freedom
of establishment which cannot be justified on grounds of public policy,"
the court concluded. 
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MAP posted-by: Mike Gogulski