Hopes and concerns

Reacting to my criticism of the recent government reshuffle as not daring, several ministers and bankers recommended I take a better look at the new Inner Cabinet. So I came up with some interesting scenarios. First, the Inner Cabinet – the sole collective government body used by Costas Karamanlis to carve out policy – will become more lively and dynamic. Two of the top members in the previous Cabinet, Petros Molyviatis and Spilios Spiliotopoulos, used to speak only on issues under their direct competence. From now on, a member of the government told me, everything will change. Dora Bakoyannis has a say over all fields of government policy and with her current momentum she will be keen to take a stand on every subject on the agenda. So will Evangelos Meimarakis, whose tenure as conservative party secretary has given him a more rounded political perspective. The exchange of ideas could be fruitful as Bakoyannis takes a more liberal stand on economic issues while Meimarakis favors compromise solutions with social partners. In this light, the ND official said, statist ministers and representatives of the populist right (Pavlopoulos, Sioufas, Souflias) will be in endless confrontation with Dora Bakoyannis while Finance Minister Giorgos Alogoskoufis, an economic liberal, will fall closer to Meimarakis and Karamanlis’s call of mild adjustment. A more dynamic Inner Cabinet should pull the government out of its current idleness, I said. I was quickly put in my place, «Be careful,» he said. «All these apply in the case that the debate in the Inner Cabinet is kept within limits. If, instead, we get arguments and bickering and, above all, if Bakoyannis yields to the temptation of emerging as an independent power, then we are in for some dangerous antagonism.»

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