OPINION

Cycle of entanglement

The vexed issue of political and economic entanglement arose in the 1980s, when modernization of Greek telecom OTE was under discussion and private interests were gaining influence. Since then, the phenomenon has snowballed. In 1989-90, when the Koskotas scandal hit, the economy was directionless and in crisis, society was inert, and the first major contract was signed by which certain interests, later to become all-powerful, held politics hostage. First, OTE’s digital exchanges were handed over without a competition; then television licenses were dispersed to leading newspaper publishers similarly, and public companies to friends of the publishers. After the Imia crisis of 1996 came the armament fiesta, which involved all entangled interests. Major suppliers, builders, arms dealers, and media leaders formed a heterogeneous whole that fueled the stock market explosion of 1999 and, in turn, the extraordinary redistribution of wealth. The system then began its decline, temporarily halted by the influx of new funds for the Olympics. The chief instruments in this entrenched system were rigged tenders, direct allocations, the «mathematical formula» ensuring contracts were awarded to predetermined bidders, the State Broadcast Council which turned a blind eye, administrative incompetence, and increasing illegality and non-transparency. How can the country free itself from these sick and highly problematic practices? The new government has declared it will do everything to restore order, transparency and unimpeachable competitions to break the cycle of entanglement and corruption. So far there have been no clear signs of action, and vested interests have taken heart, seeking contacts and new opportunities. We assume that nobody wants to see the rebirth of this evil system and are waiting to see initiatives begin.