Damage control required

Rarely has a minister seen his or her name linked to so many government errors. It is even rarer for a prime minister not to have the courage to fire such a minister. Louka Katseli, who is labor and social insurance minister in the current Socialist administration, was the person behind PASOK’s economic policy when the party was in opposition. She ignored fundamental facts and was in favor of a bigger state and greater spending. She was also skeptical of the large Chinese investment in the Port of Piraeus – and the deal was almost called off as a result. As minister of finance, Katseli was responsible for the disastrous policy on banks and, more recently, for her feckless stance toward the troika on labor market reforms. When Papandreou became aware of the problem, he moved her to the Labor Ministry – a key post from which she could once again put the country’s stabilization program in jeopardy. What is stopping the premier from taking the obvious decision? Is it lack of strength or disregard of the risk of bankruptcy facing the nation?