Angelos Stangos ANGELOS STANGOS

Failure on all fronts

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

There is a whole lot that the current Greek government should not be bragging about, not even in the context of self-praise about its “achievements” – a deception of public opinion and brazen propaganda of the type it regularly indulges in, without any sense of moderation.

The SYRIZA-Independent Greeks coalition has failed miserably at every single initiative it has taken in its three years in power: from the social security system to new broadcasting licenses, from the protection of the country’s citizens and the electronic ticket system on the Athens metro, to the “Save at Home” program more recently. Its ability to destroy everything it touches, in any area, seems almost deliberate.

In contrast, every project it has hailed as its own and hastened to inaugurate amid much fanfare had started before it came to power and was completed thanks to European Union funding, try as the government might to hide the fact. Blatant examples include the Athens-Patra and Patra-Ioannina highways, which were completed in the past three years but at a much greater cost and with significant delays; the tunnel at the Vale of Tempe; and the recent connection of the Cycladic islands to the power grid on the Greek mainland.

The explanation for this phenomenon is quite simple really. The increasingly incompetent, red tape-snarled state has been reborn under SYRIZA and Independent Greeks, complete with a heavier dose of nontransparent appointments, cronyistic policies and subsidy-reliant unionism. To top it off, we also have a bevy of clueless officials who ostensibly came to power in order to change things, but are actually here to drive the lowest common denominator even lower – both because of their ideological fixations, but also because their own mediocrity leaves little room for anything else.

The worst thing is that this performance is not prompting a backlash from the citizens. One reason is that many of them have already been trained to accept mediocrity at school and in the family, while many others are sitting pretty and don’t want to upset the applecart. Last but not least, there is a category of citizens who have no experience of a better performance, of greater efficiency and of getting the benefits they paid for.

Everyone agrees – in words if not in actions – that Greece needs investments in order to start recovering. It needs foreign investments, according to most technocrats, and state investments, according to the SYRIZA mentality. Incredibly high taxes are a problem for the former, but the truth is that the incompetence of the state and the government is a bigger one.

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