Committee to recommend cull of Greece’s independent watchdogs

Committee to recommend cull of Greece’s independent watchdogs

A proposal drawn up by the Law Preparing Committee on the institutional framework for independent regulators should be completed by the end of the month.

The committee, reactivated ahead of the country’s third bailout review, is expected to propose to Administrative Reform Minister Olga Gerovasili that significant changes be made to the institutional framework with the aim of improving the efficiency of the authorities. All signs point to a considerable reduction in the number of watchdogs, from 27 today to between 12 and 15.

This reduction has been recommended by the country’s creditors, who realize that while the number of regulators has grown this increase has not been accompanied by the promotion of transparency and efficiency. Indeed, Greece’s lenders have repeatedly expressed concern at administrative mechanisms that are answerable to state offices such as the government and its ministers.

The plan will provide for the preservation of the five constitutional independent authorities (the National Broadcasting Council, the Hellenic Authority for Communication Security and Privacy, the Ombudsman, the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection and the Hellenic Data Protection Authority), the four market regulatory bodies and the four financial independent authorities. The future of all other watchdogs is unknown.

It is also certain that many authorities set up to regulate transport (railway, maritime, air etc) will merge into one or be incorporated into an existing independent authority.

The second issue the committee will address is financing. It is expected to propose that the funding of authorities come from a single fund monitored by Parliament or the Finance Ministry, thus reducing their dependence on ministerial or government power. The ideal scenario would see them financed from the Parliament’s budget, but many ministers have reacted against such a proposition.

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