Over the past few days, parts of Athens have been plunged into chaos as a number of traffic lights have stopped working at different junctions around the capital, creating even greater problems on the roads and extremely dangerous driving conditions. The excuses issued by the ministers responsible have been varied, and, more often than not, completely ridiculous. It is obvious that the easy populism with which the contracts with Siemens – the company that installed most of the Athens traffic light system and is responsible for its upkeep – were annulled, in combination with a failure to coordinate a solution with different state services, have led to more than 50 traffic lights at busy intersections being out of order. The situation, meanwhile, is only expected to get worse, as authorities have already noted that there is a shortage of spare parts. Someone needs to step in and solve this problem because, apart from being extremely dangerous, it tells us that the state mechanism has frozen and is incapable of settling even the simplest of matters.