Scores of Greek expats in Europe have filled lawsuits against the Greek state for breach of personal data after it was revealed last week that ruling New Democracy’s (ND) MEP Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou had allegedly sent out unsolicited mass e-mails ahead of the upcoming EU elections scheduled for June.

The first lawsuit was filed by a resident of the Netherlands who had submitted their personal details to register for the national elections roll of 2023 to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Many more followed within a few hours.

The plaintiff in the Netherlands alleges violations of Articles 5, 6, 12, and especially Article 32(4) of the GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation, a European Union regulation on information privacy in the European Union and the European Economic Area-, arguing the Greek Government failed to ensure personal data safety. The plaintiff demands 20,000 euros in compensation from the Greek Government for moral damages plus accrued interest from the filing of the lawsuit until payment.

As Vasileios Sotiropoulos, a lawyer representing expatriates who filed lawsuits, stated to Greek TV station ANT1, approximately 30 lawsuits have been filed so far against the Ministry of Interior, seeking compensation claiming the Greek state had failed to protect their personal data provided to participate in the elections.

Besides the lawsuits, he stressed that extrajudicial actions have been taken against the New Democracy MEP to provide explanations regarding the possession of personal election data.

In an effort to contain the political firestorm, the government attempted to mitigate reactions through the resignation of the ministry’s general secretary and the voluntary removal from New Democracy’s Euro candidate ballot of Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou.

Following the revelation last week, the head of the Athens first instance prosecutor’s office ordered a preliminary investigation into the leak of the electronic correspondence data of Greek citizens who register as expatriates living abroad.