NEWS

Where Greece stands in the EU

Is Greece one of the “good kids” in the EU?

To give a serious answer to that question, one must take into account the evolution of Greek behavior over time. In the 27 years since Greece joined the EU, there has been some improvement. Greece certainly knows a lot more in 2008 than it did in the 1980s or early 1990s about what the EU and European procedures mean. It's a much better pupil than it was at first, when it treated the EU opportunistically in terms of «how much I can pocket.» Countries like Spain and Ireland have made the best use of the funds and opportunities provided by the EU and they have developed much more. So, is all going well? Not really. Greece isn't exactly in the vanguard and there are areas, such as the environment, where convergence is problematic. There is also a problem with slow or ineffective implementation of EU legislation. Simply adopting laws and not implementing them entails a long-term cost. Often they are not adopted at all. In general, public administration and the courts are still insufficiently familiar with the fact that EU law is an integral part of national legislation. This results in frequent condemnations by the European Court, the lowering of our prestige in EU institutions, shortcomings in consolidating the rule of law, and negative repercussions on the quality of democracy. As a society we lack trust and that is a significant cultural impediment to consolidate practices and behaviors that promote the adoption of public policies. Policies, that is, which are aimed at finding consensus solutions for the major structural problems in our society such as education, health, social insurance and public administration itself.

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