Slipshod lawmaking

The odyssey of the banks’ social security funds is just one example of the inadequate legislative preparation that characterizes everything the government tries to institute. Already two laws have been passed, but the presidential decrees required to implement them have been delayed by the Council of State. There are other examples: Recently there was the case of the sports minister’s law on soccer clubs. That particular draft law was passed from Parliament to FIFA, the world soccer governing body, which eventually dictated the bill’s terms. Then there were the legal acrobatics on the part of the Public Works Ministry regarding the Acheloos River diversion in an attempt to bypass Council of State rulings, and those on the part of the Health Ministry in an attempt to hire nursing staff without holding the regular examinations for civil servants. All of the above show that the process for drafting laws is inadequate, causing considerable trouble when attempts are made to pass laws that are not compatible with existing legality, whether Greek or international. None of this is new. It used to happen during the previous government’s tenure, as became evident in the constitutional review of 2001. The slapdash way it was drafted is evident in the fact that five years later, the amended provisions require further revision. Yet this does not absolve the current government or its ministries of their responsibility for certain laws. In any case, the people voted them in to correct what was wrong, not to repeat their predecessors’ mistakes. So the government ministers should do what is self-evident: make a detailed check of bills submitted to Parliament, consult with their legal advisers and change the bill’s provisions if they are found wanting. As Winston Churchill once said, Parliament’s mission is not simply to pass good laws, but to prevent bad laws from being passed.