OPINION

Opinion

Such words are usually heard at the first Cabinet session following the swearing in of a newly formed government: Work, productiveness, effectiveness, cooperation and collective effort. However, it seems that what Prime Minister Costas Simitis said in his recent Cabinet address does not fall under the customary general discourse. Rather these were substantial calls, enriched with a considerable amount of apologetic self-criticism over the performance of the outgoing Cabinet. The prime minister underscored the need for effectiveness and speed, for efforts that will help shape a more just social state, for the need to promote our work – for it makes no sense to produce work and not to promote it (so long as work is produced, of course) and called on government officials not to… abuse their appearances on television. Of course, Simitis also said other, more concrete things which, in light of the characteristics of the outgoing government, acquire a more self-critical nature. He referred to the need for cooperation between ministries… stressing that we are not ministers of our ministries alone but ministers of a government with a collective task. These are, of course, self-evident things which are taught to first-year political science students and those in public administration. But the perennial misfortune of this poor country is that the self-evident constitutes what the country has always sorely lacked… In this light, one cannot help drawing the conclusion that these mass dismissals confirm the existence of personal objectives and the practice of rallying around traditional PASOK ministers, so that the move of the latter from one ministry to another entails the transfer of an entire group, regardless whether the aides are specialized in the previous or the new ministry.