OPINION

A bad example

The poor state of the Manpower Organization (OAED) is indicative of the broader malaise besetting Greece’s state apparatus. In order to fulfill its crucial mission and contribute to the fight against unemployment, OAED should have restructured itself long ago. Many such promises have been heard over the last five years, while two years ago Greece undertook specific commitments before the European Commission, pledging to promote programs of individualized treatment and to establish a reliable mechanism for monitoring the program’s efficiency. Unfortunately, nothing was done. It’s indicative that although an OAED sister company was set up by Tassos Yiannitsis in order to carry out the individualized treatment program, the company never really functioned and it is set to be abolished by the current employment minister, Dimitris Reppas. The European Commission has set an extremely pressing time frame for OAED to comply. The decision to hire 480 employees to carry out the individualized treatment program was signed by the minister 10 days ago and the Supreme Council for Personnel Selection (ASEP) is quite sluggish with proclaiming competitions. It’s doubtful whether recruitments will have been completed by February or March so that the new staff can be trained and start working by next September. Hence, there is little hope that the set time frame will be followed. As a consequence, there are also questions about the 2 billion euros of funds. A considerable sum of the money has already gone in toward the program subsidizing the new jobs. But such practices have their limits. The case of OAED raises the broader issue of ineffectiveness. This problem is, on one hand, owed to the endemic phenomenon of maladministration and, on the other, to the mentality of senior officials who are trying to sustain and reinforce the party and personal network to serve their interests. It is indicative of the situation that OAED maintains a peculiar and unofficial joint-management with trade unionists and employers’ representatives. This situation has created huge problems in the past. However, it would be unfair to put all the blame on the current political administration, as these are chronic problems. What is important at this moment is to find solutions as soon as possible so as to avoid the risk of losing precious EU funds.