Provopoulos cautious optimism about reform

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram In a first for Greek politics the first ministerial meeting of the newly elected Greek government was broadcast live on television.In addressing the ministerial meeting the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said, “The mandate we have received is to turn things around, to change the way the country is governed and to bring some dignity to the relationship between the state and citizens.”The Greek Prime Minister made clear that “All together, united, we Greeks will write the next pages of our history.” Papandreou stated that transparency, the systematic modernisation and upgrading of the state and the democratic institutions, a professional approach to resolving problems, and the protection of the individual rights but also the collective public interest were priorities for his newly elected government.Papandreou gave his ministers a one-week deadline to assess the problems at their ministries and report back to him.He instructed his ministers to take account of the problems existing in the ministries they are taking on, and to “not sweep them under the carpet” but to confront them and solve them.Papandreou asked that his ministers record the problems faced by their respective ministries, so that they can present them to the Cabinet meeting next week, together with their priorities, noting that “the problems need to be known before measures are announced”.Papandreou said that the Interior Minister, Yiannis Ragousis, would soon be announcing measures relating to the way that ministers take official decisions and the subsequent publication of these on the internet, which was one of PASOK’s campaign pledges designed to improve transparency. The prime minister also heralded an effort to simplify Greece’s laws, which is a task that is being undertaken by State Minister Haris Paboukis. Papandreou stressed to his ministers the need to combat corruption, which he said had reached “pandemic levels.” “We have to become the catalysts for change, not the apologists of power,” he said, ordering his ministers to dismantle any committees operating under their ministry’s auspices, identifying them as being too closely linked to political parties and a drain on financial resources. However Papandreou did not stop there. He then invited Ombudsman Giorgos Kaminis into the meeting to present some of the problems that people encounter in their everyday dealings with the public sector in particular. Kaminis stressed to the new government that each change of administration should not lead also to a wholesale change of personnel in the civil service and that it was important to hold on to people that were doing their job properly.The head of the watchdog said that the Ombudsman’s office had repeatedly informed ministers in the past about its concerns but this rarely led to any action being taken.Kaminis also underlined the need for the government to tackle the immigration problem and suggested that a temporary “halfway” solution needed to be found for undocumented migrants living in Greece, whereby they would be given the right to receive health and social care.The Greek Prime Minsiter also instructed his ministers to seek the resignation of all the ad hoc committees in their ministries, noting that, after evaluation, if the operation of a specific committee was deemed necessary, it could be reinstated.last_img read more