The PM of action?
So, Costas Simitis is to go down in history as the «prime minister of action» – if we are to believe comments by Public Works Minister Vasso Papandreou at the inauguration of a new section of highway along the slopes of Mount Hymettus. The project virtually ate through a mountain but what the hell, the point was, after all, to allow our cars to drive a few more kilometers before hitting traffic, until we bore through another mountain. But how ironic that the minister’s statement should be made on September 3 – the anniversary of the foundation of PASOK by Andreas Papandreou – the day that people generally pay their respects to the ruling party’s founder. So, if we accept Vasso Papandreou’s nomination of Costas Simitis as «the prime minister of action,» there remains for Andreas Papandreou the rather less enviable title of «prime minister of words» – the leader whose rhetorical skills moved mountains but whose actions amounted to far less. Vasso Papandreou is not the only cabinet minister to have directed praise toward Simitis that is far better suited to the personality of Andreas Papandreou. It was only a few months ago that Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou made the following statement: «Costas Simitis is the first Greek prime minister to converse on an equal footing with other European leaders. This is the first time this has happened in modern history. Neither Venizelos nor Karamanlis nor Papandreou had such luck!»