OPINION

Community funds

Greece’s problems in administrating support funds go back to the 1980s. At first, there were the Mediterranean Integrated Programs – most often the object of government experimentation. Funds were handed out without any sense of moderation or concern for economic efficiency. Then came the 1989-1993 First Community Support Framework (CSFI), which amounted to about 4 trillion drachmas. CSFI passed by nearly unnoticed as it was channeled into small projects and did not prepare the ground for the next stage. The only notable project of that period was a 50-kilometer stretch of the Corinth-Tripolis Highway. The 1993-1999 Second Community Support Framework (CSFII), amounting to 10 trillion drachmas, set the foundations for major projects but was sorely lacking in terms of the administration of funds and timetables. The failings of that period still haunt the government, as reflected in recent pressure from the European Commission. Finally, the Third Community Support Framework (CSFIII) presents the best opportunity for forming a steady base for Greece’s long-term growth. So far, the exploitation of the program has been unsatisfactory and is marked by many delays. Moreover, it has coincided with the EU’s introduction of stricter monitoring mechanisms. Problems so far highlight serious political weaknesses as a considerable number of ministers have yet to grasp the new stricter and more transparent procedures. But the greatest problem concerns the administration. Greece’s public administration is tied to partisan objectives, its hierarchy has been undermined, and it is estranged from economic developments. All these prevent it from playing a dominant role. It is imperative to fill this vacuum, for it is common knowledge that there can be no efficiency without strong administration.