OPINION

Restoring the state hierachy

One of the most important measures voted on February 12 was the introduction of a permanent general secretary for the Finance Ministry. Greece used to have a proper public administration with general secretaries who were, as a rule, uncorrupted by partisan and unionist influence. They had a strong background in the service and good knowledge of the matters at hand, inspiring respect among politicians. They were swept aside in the early 1980s by a populist PASOK. General secretaries were replaced by so-called advisers, depriving the state body of a most vital part.

That loss came at a hefty price.

Politicians come and go, often knowing as little as they did at the time they took over. General secretaries ensure continuity. Introducing a general secretary for the Finance Ministry should be the first step. Greece will never overcome the crisis unless it builds a solid public administration, recruiting permanent executives to train a new generation of civil servants who currently see no hierarchy capable of inspiring respect and discipline.