Wanted: Effective officials

Wanted: Effective officials

Greece suffers greatly from the ineptness and inactivity of people that take over state sector jobs despite lacking the necessary skills, qualities or enthusiasm.

I was watching footage yesterday from the port of Alexandroupoli in northern Greece. The port authority’s CEO was making statements following a meeting with the US consul general in Thessaloniki. It was about an operation to haul the Olga dredger out of the sea after it went down nine years ago. The Americans were interested in using Alexandroupoli port as a transit hub for military equipment used in various exercises around the Balkans.

However, they had been unable to maximize the port’s capabilities as the Olga had sunk next to the pier, a part of which had collapsed. The Greek CEO thanked the US for its contribution in the cleanup operation and he was evidently pleased that a problem had been solved during his tenure. It’s hard to see however why it took a long nine years as well as the intervention of a superpower (for its own reasons) to bring such a simple task to fruition.

The development speaks volumes about the lack of competence and initiative in Greece. Even more so given the fact that we are talking here about a port with major geopolitical significance for the country’s national interests. And, on top of that, the lost earnings from the cargo that could not be unloaded at the port all these years.

There are similar stories that can drive a person mad. The illegal landfill on the Cycladic island of Andros which collapsed into the sea in 2011, sending heaps of garbage to the seabed is still giving Greece a bad name via comments on social media by famous and lesser-known visitors.

As is usually the case in the realm of trash in Greece, the local authorities did nothing to solve the problem. When disaster struck, they again failed to take action, using the excuse that the location was only accessible by sea.

These are only two of the stories that expose the heart of Greece’s failings. The prime minister, the ministers, the big powers or anyone else may want to solve this problem or another, but at the end of the day, a thousand Gordian knots have to be cut if the country is to make any progress.

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