Tatoulis blasts costly Cultural Olympiad

The previous government’s much-vaunted Olympiad of cultural events was too expensive, badly organized and profligate in its funds management, Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis charged yesterday. Designed as a four-year program of events leading up to the August Olympics, the Cultural Olympiad was initially budgeted at 40 billion drachmas (117 million euros), Tatoulis said. The final bill came to 143 million euros. «Sloppiness in planning and improvisation created results that did not meet initial expectations, while the talent and the creative force of the artists involved was not fully tapped,» Tatoulis said. As a salient example of wastefulness, the deputy minister pointed to a production at the New York Metropolitan Opera in March 2003, where 77,000 euros were spent on a single reception.