Shameful failure

Shameful failure

There’s a lot that one could say about the mistakes made by the troika of international lenders and their recipe for Greece. But if there’s one thing on which the troika has been right from the start, it is its insistence on streamlining the public sector along meritocratic lines.

It’s an embarrassment for Greek politicians that they need outside pressure to push things in that direction.

Until recently, Greek authorities had no idea how many public sector workers there were, nor how much their salaries or benefits were costing the country. In fact the exact figures are still unknown to them.

Unionists, party officials and corrupt politicians have casually refused to provide the figures and data, allegedly in a bid to protect the national interest. People working for audit companies or other state sector divisions have received threats simply for trying to collect evidence. At the same time, talk about staff allocation plans or organizational charts has generated nothing but ridicule.

The real objective of course was to disguise the bad habits of the old guard which wanted to appoint their own boys to key posts such as hospital managers. OpenGov was a great initiative, but in the end appointments were decided by the so-called deep PASOK. At the end of the day the “evil” troika was attacked for wanting to have the final say on who is appointed.

Sure, there has been some progress. But we now run the risk of sliding back to the 1980s when you could see individuals appointed as military chiefs after they had retired and after they had served on just about any old party central committee. Things are out of control and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras must put an end to the shameful tactics.

European officials are sounding the alarm. “We understand that this government is in a hurry to appoint as many as it can because PASOK and ND had been appointing their own people for years. But they have gone too far,” an unnamed official told the newspaper.

Ideally, Tsipras and Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the new leader of New Democracy, both youthful politicians would, despite their different backgrounds, agree to put an end to this mess: Tsipras with his promise of fresh momentum (which has so far been canceled out by his government’s actions) and conservative chief Mitsotakis by signaling a new era different to the one that New Democracy and perhaps also his family symbolize. I know all this sounds like a political fairy tale.

But until we kick our filthy political habits, the troika will have to pressure us on the obvious. It’s a real shame.

Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.