Greece

   

Executive Capacity

#34
Key Findings
Although its new government is engaged in significant governance reform, Greece scores relatively poorly (rank 34) with respect to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.5 points as compared to 2014.

The Syriza-ANEL government’s last year was focused on day-to-day business rather than strategic goals. The incoming New Democracy government has worked to strengthen strategic capacity, reorganizing the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and staffing it with policy experts, and expanding monitoring mechanisms. Ties between the PMO and line ministries have been strengthened.

Informal coordination continues to play an important role. RIAs quality is generally poor, and ex post evaluation is not yet a regular practice. Public consultation under the Syriza government was limited by bailout conditionalities, while the New Democracy has made strong efforts to contact and attract investors. The new government is focusing its messaging on the establishment of European “normality.”

Significant structural reforms have been passed by successive governments. Several long-stalled investment projects have gained speed under the new government. Regulatory enforcement has long been influenced by powerful interest groups and businesspeople. The new government has sought to nominate non-politicized appointees to law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

Strategic Capacity

#20

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
5
Strategic planning has long proved difficult for the central government in Athens thanks in large part to the archipelago-like character of governance involving conflicting political interests, clientelism and a highly formalistic administrative culture that fosters segmentation. Weak horizontal coordination within and among ministries, government agencies and state-owned companies make matters worse.

Strategic planning was included, at least for the period from 2015 to 2018, in the Third Memorandum of Understanding signed between Greece and its creditors. Progress was noted in August 2018 upon completion of this memorandum. For example, the Independent Public Revenue Authority was established and the authorities made progress in adopting a General Transport Master Plan, covering all transport modes (i.e., road, railway, maritime, air and multi-modal), including logistical aspects.

In early 2018, the government released a post-bailout development strategy (entitled “Greece: A Growth Strategy for the Future”). The strategy was revised twice by the European Commission before its public presentation and is divided into five chapters: Fiscal Viability, Sustainable Development, Structural Conditions for Growth, Just Development without Exclusion, and Funding of Development. The strategy was criticized by the opposition as more of a wish list than an integrated plan for the country to regain its footing. However, in its last year in power, the Syriza-ANEL government was preoccupied with the day-to-day management of the state and did not begin implementation of any long-term development strategy. Thus, the coalition government did not follow a long-term plan, but instead engaged in experiments in various policy sectors such as employment, higher education, culture and sports.

A shift occurred after the national elections of July 2019, in which the Syriza-ANEL coalition lost to the center-right New Democracy party. In August 2019, the newly elected single-party majority government passed a new law aiming to reorganize the government and the upper echelons of the central public administration. The law aimed to strengthen the civil service rather than the central government’s line-ministry functions; reduced the number of political appointee posts (which the previous government had allowed to mushroom); and provided for new, non-political general secretary posts responsible for day-to-day management of the individual ministries. The new law had not been fully implemented by the end of 2019, but overall, the shift to a less politicized higher civil service focused on planning and programming tasks raised hopes for better steering of the Greek state.

Citations:
Greece: A Growth Strategy for the Future http://www.mindev.gov.gr/greece-a-growth-strategy-for-the-future/

Does the government regularly take into account advice from non-governmental experts during decision-making?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Expert Advice
7
Non-governmental academic experts are consulted as advisers by the government. Most of the ad hoc committees formed by ministers on public policy reforms are staffed by academic experts. Qualified academics often serve as experts across all sectors of the economy and administration, where they also act as administrative elites, which simply do not exist in Greece’s highly politicized civil service. Moreover, the size and quality of policy think tanks vary significantly, and they often offer little alternative to ad persona advisory inputs.

In the period under review, following the government turnover of July 2019, the incoming New Democracy government attracted a comparatively large number of qualified experts in a variety of policymaking sectors. Some of these individuals had acquired their expertise and job experience in the private sector, while others had worked in Greek and foreign universities. Previous connections to the New Democracy party proved largely irrelevant to the hiring decisions. This was an improvement over the past, when experts had often been recruited primarily on the grounds of their loyalty to the governing party.

Interministerial Coordination

#26

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills according to the government’s priorities?

10
 9

The GO / PMO provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO evaluates most draft bills according to the government’s priorities.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
7
The center of government has traditionally struggled to coordinate and evaluate government legislation. As with previous governments, in the period under review, under the Syriza-ANEL government, draft legislation has rarely been subjected to substantive and systematic evaluation. In fact, ministers have often been able to add last-minute amendments to draft legislation in order to favor selected interest groups, organizations or municipalities in their own electoral district or former colleagues of the minister.

Under the Syriza-ANEL government, a number of offices and government ministers were entrusted with steering government initiatives in the area of sectoral policy. As was the case before 2015, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) played a primary role. A second relevant organ, the General Secretariat of Coordination of Governmental Tasks, collected, registered and circulated documents, and was also very close to the prime minister. Individual ministers without a portfolio were periodically given one-off tasks which demanded the collection and evaluation of policy expertise. It is unclear whether these organs and ministers had clearly demarcated areas of competences and sectoral expertise. In the period under review, as in the past, interministerial coordination was largely carried out by a small informal circle of ministers and advisers who met daily at the seat of the prime minister.

After the government turnover of July 2019, there was a visible change in the role played by the center of government. The New Democracy party, which won the national elections of July 2019, rose to power with a concrete plan of reorganizing decision-making and passing legislation in a less haphazard manner than was the case with preceding governments. Government priorities were clearly laid out in the summer of 2019, and interministerial coordination processes were streamlined. According to descriptions of the new governance model, the PMO will continue to play a vital and overarching role in monitoring targets and effectiveness within all ministries. Nevertheless, it is still too early to judge the significance of these reforms. In the autumn of 2019, government ministers occasionally submitted last-minute amendments to laws as they moved through parliament. This has a common occurrence under past governments, and it remains to be seen whether the new incumbent government will be able to overcome the practice.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination between GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
7
Since the onset of the crisis in 2010, the PMO has gradually acquired more power and resources to supervise line ministries, the policies of which were streamlined to fit the fiscal consolidation effort of Greece. However, the PMO was not the only authority with which line ministries consulted. In fact, as the implementation of the Third Economic Adjustment Program for Greece unfolded, line ministers often turned to the Ministry of Finance for technical and drafting guidance in cases where legislation in development within individual ministries ran into financial constraints imposed by Greece’s creditors. However, after the government turnover of July 2019, ties between line ministries and the PMO were further strengthened, as the latter was reorganized and staffed with highly skilled policy experts.

Citations:
Kevin Featherstone and Dimitris Papadimitriou (2013), “The Emperor Has No Clothes! Power and Resources within the Greek Core Executive,” Governance, Vol. 26, Issue 3, pp. 523-545.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The vast majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
5
There are cabinet committees tasked with overseeing specific policy sectors. However, these committees meet only when a major policy decision has to be made and are not subject to systematic organization. Substantive policy work is done at the line ministries and by the PMO before issues are presented to the cabinet. Within the headquarters of the PMO, a small, informal circle of advisers and ministers close to the prime minister bear primary responsibility for the formulation and coordination of cabinet proposals. Ministerial committees often performed a rather symbolic function while Greece was struggling to fulfill the requirements of three successive Economic Adjustment Programs in 2010-2018. After the government turnover of July 2019, there are initial good signs of rejuvenation of cabinet committees.

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
4
Greek bureaucracy is over-politicized and under-resourced. Political party cadres rather than civil servants coordinate policy proposals. Civil servants in line ministries often lack modern scientific and management skills. Policy proposals are usually assigned to ministerial advisers, who are short-term political appointees and can be non-academic experts, academics and governing party cadres. Top civil servants contribute to policy proposals by suggesting what is legally permissible and technically feasible, although even on those issues ministers often tend to trust their own legal and technical advisers. The remaining civil servants at lower levels of the bureaucratic hierarchy rarely, if ever, know of, let alone contribute to policy proposals. Moreover, there is little horizontal coordination among civil servants working in different ministries. Ministers assign the task of horizontal interministerial communication to their advisers.

In the period under review, such trends were exacerbated, though officially the government may have intended otherwise. Pressed by the country’s creditors, the government began implementing a new law (passed in 2016) which should have enhanced the role of civil servants when formulating and coordinating policy proposals. The senior civil service was supposed to be staffed by personnel selected by meritocratic standards (e.g., new appointments were scheduled to be made to the rank of general directors of ministries). The selection process took over a year to complete and was heavily disputed. In practice, little progress was made as the government preferred to turn to its own political appointees for the preparation and coordination of policy proposals.

This meritocratic selection of civil servants was not accelerated after the government turnover of July 2019. However, the new government passed legislation limiting the number of political appointees at the top of the civil service hierarchy, and depoliticizing high-ranking ministerial positions, such as the post of general secretary. The new legislation had not yet been implemented by the end of 2019.

Citations:
The new law on higher civil service is law 4369/2016.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
8
Most coordination mechanisms are informal and complement the more meager formal coordination mechanisms, such as the infrequently convened cabinet and ministerial committees. Most informal mechanisms are ad hoc meetings among ministers convened at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Such meetings are followed up by person-to-person contacts between staff members of the PMO and advisers to ministers. In the review period, under pressure to complete the Third Economic Adjustment Program for Greece, informal coordination was frequent and organized by close associates of Prime Minister Tsipras (e.g., ministers without a portfolio) working at the PMO. Following the cabinet reshuffle of August 2018, at least three ministers were successively given such informal-coordination roles. The role of informal coordination was preserved after the government turnover of July 2019, as a deputy prime minister, one additional minister and one junior minister without portfolio were appointed to serve directly under the prime minister, and tasked with steering the government mechanism. Overall, the importance of informal coordination has increased over time.

How extensively and effectively are digital technologies used to support interministerial coordination (in policy development and monitoring)?

10
 9

The government uses digital technologies extensively and effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


The government uses digital technologies in most cases and somewhat effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


The government uses digital technologies to a lesser degree and with limited effects to support interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

The government makes no substantial use of digital technologies to support interministerial coordination.
Digitalization for Interministerial C.
5
While the PMO in Greece uses modern information and communication technologies to monitor government mechanisms, there is little formal coordination of policies across and within ministries. Thus, it is difficult to envisage the digitalization of interministerial coordination. To the extent that such coordination takes place, it is not horizontal, but vertical – flowing from the PMO to line ministries through the political appointees and personal secretaries of the ministers. Policy coordination exists only with regard to the implementation of a few transversal policies, such as public procurement. The latter is now effected through a national system of public procurement (EAADHSY). This system functions through an appropriately developed digital platform for tenders and applications from suppliers of goods and services interested in serving the public sector. Following the government turnover of July 2019, a new ministry, the Ministry of Digital Governance, was established. This is likely to give new impetus to the use of digital technologies across the government. The ministry announced that its first goal was to achieve interoperability between state records systems, enabling different agencies to “talk” to each other and share information.

Citations:
The digital platform for public procurement, covering all ministries and agencies of the public sector, is available at http://www.eaadhsy.gr/
Τhe website of the Ministry of Digital Governance is available at https://mindigital.gr/

Evidence-based Instruments

#41

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
2
In 2006, under a previous government, the PMO issued a circular requesting that all ministries utilize RIA, but RIA has never actually been implemented in a systematic way. Today, all legislative drafts submitted to the parliament are accompanied by a document that outlines the rationale for the bill.

The General Accounting Office estimates the cost of the bill for the state budget, if the competent minister provides the office with adequate data (which is often not the case). Even in RIA processes for the development of critical laws initiated by the executive, Greece scores well below the OECD average. The quality of RIAs is generally poor, largely due to the hasty manner in which the texts of new bills are developed.

A sort of regulatory impact assessment process for new regulations is sometimes completed at ministerial meetings, but regulations in Greece have increasingly been passed without such assessments. Rather, regulations result from short-term, quite often patronage-ridden political calculations.

Citations:
OECD Government at a Glance 2017 http://www.oecd.org/gov/govataglance.htm

OECD, Regulatory Policy Outlook 2018 (https://www.oecd.org/governance/oecd-regulatory-policy-outlook-2018-9789264303072-en.htm)

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
2
Law 4048/2012 established the RIA framework. According to Article 7, “every bill, addition or amendment and every normative decision of major economic or social importance shall by accompanied by an impact assessment.” However, no RIA has been undertaken since the law was passed. RIAs are supposed to be submitted to the Better Regulation Office.

Citations:
OECD Competition Assessment Reviews: Greece, 2014.

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
1
Sustainability checks are not performed; this was the case under the preceding and remains the case under the incumbent government.

To what extent do government ministries regularly evaluate the effectiveness and/or efficiency of public policies and use results of evaluations for the revision of existing policies or development of new policies?

10
 9

Ex post evaluations are carried out for all significant policies and are generally used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 8
 7
 6


Ex post evaluations are carried out for most significant policies and are used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 5
 4
 3


Ex post evaluations are rarely carried out for significant policies and are rarely used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 2
 1

Ex post evaluations are generally not carried out and do not play any relevant role for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
Quality of Ex Post Evaluation
2
Ex post evaluations are not yet part of the Greek government’s regulatory-management toolbox. There is frequent turnover among ministers, and it is rare for a minister to stay in office long enough to evaluate a measure he or she adopted. After government reshuffles and certainly after a change in government, incoming ministers rarely are interested in evaluating the policies pursued by their predecessors. Notwithstanding, there are in the public administration and central headquarters of ministries, higher-ranking civil servants who could perform such evaluations if asked to do so. The potential is there, but it is rarely used. However, the Greek government has in some cases asked international organizations (e.g., the OECD) or think tanks to evaluate policy impacts. The Syriza-ANEL government was rather reluctant to ask for external advice. In contrast, the New Democracy government in power since July 2019 has shown itself to be more open to the prospect of establishing proper ex post policy-evaluation processes.

Societal Consultation

#37

Does the government consult with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner?

10
 9

The government always consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 8
 7
 6


The government in most cases consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 5
 4
 3


The government does consult with societal actors, but mostly in an unfair and clientelistic manner.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Public Consultation
3
In the period under review, social consultation on policy decisions was limited, because much of Greece’s policy – until late 2018 – was determined by the detailed austerity measures and conditionalities included in the Third Economic Adjustment Program. Such policies negatively affected the incomes of a variety of societal actors (e.g., workers, employees) who were not consulted on income policy. To compensate voters for the associated income losses, the Syriza-ANEL coalition government handed out one-off welfare benefits to pensioners and lower income groups every December in a rather inchoate fashion. This practice was repeated in December 2018. The Syriza-ANEL government did consult with individual domestic and foreign businesses that the government hoped would invest in the country’s media, real estate and tourism sectors, but investors proved reluctant to cooperate with the government. After elections of July 2019, the incoming New Democracy government launched a concerted effort to contact and attract investors, after putting out a plan for making the country’s business environment more welcoming to investors.

Policy Communication

#38

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

Ministries are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 8
 7
 6


Ministries most of the time are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 5
 4
 3


Ministries occasionally issue public statements that contradict the public communication of other ministries or the government strategy.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually consistent with the government’s strategy.
Coherent Communication
3
In August 2018, the Third Economic Adjustment Program for Greece (the Third Memorandum, 2015 – 2018) was completed. The government in power at the time considered the program’s completion to be a successful final “exit of the Memoranda,” though in June 2018 it had consented to a continuation of periodic performance reviews of the Greek economy (i.e., site visits by IMF and European Commission representatives every three months). After that time, the prime minister, the government’s spokesperson, the minister of finance and other ministers conveyed positive messages about future economic growth, although Greece’s economy continued to show rather slow growth (under 2% of GDP). Private foreign investment continued to stay away, businesses continued to close down or leave the country, and the flight of skilled labor (“brain drain”) continued. The government thus tried to divert attention from growth rates by highlighting the decline in the unemployment rate, and by emphasizing ideological differences between “left” and “right.”

The center-right New Democracy party, which assumed power in July 2019, embarked on a new communication strategy focusing on the idea that the “experiments” with the economy and the political system attempted by the previous government during 2015 – 2019 were now over. The new communication strategy took on a central theme of “normality,” with the new government implying that it was time for Greece to become a typical, normal EU-like market economy and parliamentary democracy. This was evidently a successful strategy, as the new governing party’s popularity remained strong in the six months following its electoral victory in July 2019. However, there is still a need for a longer-term government vision articulating the direction and intention of Greek policy.

Implementation

#36

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Effectiveness
5
Significant structural reforms have been legislated by successive Greek governments over the last nine years, but their mix and implementation were and continue to be uneven. Greece has implemented important labor market reforms, but there has been less progress with regard to curtailing oligopoly power, reducing the regulatory burden and promoting reform in the public administration.

Policy implementation efforts have been problematic throughout the period under review as in previous periods. Examples of a lingering implementation include the challenges still faced by young entrepreneurs and professionals establishing and operating a new business, given frequent and unpredictable changes in taxation. The same holds with regard to the privatization of state-owned property, though the government, officially at least, appeared more willing to accept foreign investment. Although the lease of 14 airports to a consortium led by Germany’s Fraport was finally completed in the period under review, two of Greece’s biggest projects – the real estate investment project on land of the former Hellenikon International Airport (in a suburb southwest of Athens) and the Eldorado Gold company’s investment in mining operations (in northern Greece), together valued at about €11 billion ($12.8 billion) – continued to stall because of bureaucratic and legal wrangling. In fact, Eldorado Gold’s investment has been suspended by the investors and they have filed a non-judicial request for payment of approximately €750 million with the Hellenic Republic, citing the Greek government’s continuous delays. All this raises questions about the country’s ability to attract the investment desperately required for economic recovery.

On the other hand, there were other government decisions, such as a performance-based review of civil servants’ pay, which were implemented. The implementation of such measures was owed to continuous pressure exerted on the government by Greece’s lenders, based on the Third Economic Adjustment Program which linked policy implementation with delivery of loans to Greece between 2015 and 2018. After the July 2019 elections, several large-scale projects (the Eldorado Company mining project and the redevelopment of the former Hellenicon airport) gained speed, as the new government was keen to help foreign investors implement their investment plans.

To what extent does the organization of government provide mechanisms to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
5
In the period under review, the completion of the Third Economic Adjustment Program (terminated in August 2018) left the government with more room to formulate and implement its own policies without externally imposed conditionalities. Government ministers pursued Syriza’s pre-electoral left-wing program, and in some instances tried out various untested ideas or plans of their own. For example, the minister of education suddenly announced in April 2019 that the country’s polytechnics would be elevated to the status of universities, and that another 38 new university departments would be founded across the country, without any rational planning. The decision affected the status of thousands of polytechnic-institution instructors who overnight became professors, as well as tens of thousands of polytechnic graduates who overnight found themselves holding university degrees.

After the government turnover of July 2019, the new government was forced to retain the elevated status of polytechnics, as thousands of recent high-school graduates had already been admitted to these institutions through that year’s university-entrance examinations. However, in November 2019, the new government canceled the procedures establishing new university departments (including a new law school at the University of Patras).

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
8
The lax monitoring of line ministries by the PMO characteristic of previous review periods has largely been addressed. This was due to the fact that the PMO understood that Greece was still dependent on funds flowing into the Greek economy from the country’s lenders. Thus, the PMO monitored the implementation activities of most line ministries. A possible exception were certain line ministries, such as the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport that are responsible for policy sectors outside the core of conditionalities linked to the Third Economic Adjustment Program. After the government turnover of July 2019, the PMO tightened procedures for monitoring line ministries’ implementation activities, introducing what it called a “new governance model.”

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies|Bureaucracies
8
In Greece, most ministries supervise dozens of executive agencies. For instance, the Ministry of Transport supervises the state-owned public transport companies in Athens and Thessaloniki, the Ministry of Health supervises all public hospitals, and the Ministry of Finance supervises numerous state-owned enterprises. During the period under review, the government realized that any fiscal derailment of supervised state agencies would endanger the progress attained in implementing the Third Economic Adjustment Program, which was under close review by the country’s lenders. However, in some cases, public-administration deficiencies and a lack of reliable data undermined monitoring and evaluation efforts.

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
3
After the onset of the economic crisis in 2010, it was revealed that subnational authorities, working on a “soft-budget” mentality, had contributed to the fiscal derailment of the Greek state through lax control of their own expenditure and hiring of excessive personnel in municipal agencies. Since then, such practices have been curtailed, while the government has imposed strict control over local government expenditure. Subnational authorities effectively have no funding sources of their own. For the Syriza-ANEL government, functioning within the constraints of the Third Economic Adjustment Program (2015 – 2018), achieving a large budget surplus was a major priority. Thus, subnational authorities along with many other state agencies were pressed to cut spending. For the New Democracy government (in power since July 2019), the priority is to stimulate economic growth primarily through incentives provided to investors, along with some relaxation of budget austerity. It remains to be seen whether this shift in priorities will translate into any change in the distribution of funding between the central and subnational governments.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
2
Subnational authorities have limited scope of discretion in Greece. While the autonomy of subnational self-governments is nominally guaranteed by the constitution – which requires that the government provides them with all legislative, regulatory and financial means to accomplish their tasks – in practice, subnational self-governments have few financial means at their disposal. Since the crisis began, successive governments narrowed the scope of fiscal discretion of subnational self-governments because the state’s finances have been on the brink of collapse and the country has relied on external support from Greece’s lenders.

Citations:
Article 102 of the constitution provides for the autonomy of subnational governments.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
3
In the period under review, there was some improvement in the implementation of national standards. It was realized that failing to implement such standards could put the state’s finances in danger, particularly since subnational self-governments are heavily dependent on the central government for their funding.

To what extent is government enforcing regulations in an effective and unbiased way, also against vested interests?

10
 9

Government agencies enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 8
 7
 6


Government agencies, for the most part, enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 5
 4
 3


Government agencies enforce regulations, but ineffectively and with bias.
 2
 1

Government agencies enforce regulations ineffectively, inconsistently and with bias.
Regulatory Enforcement
4
In Greece, it is difficult to argue that enforcement of regulations is effective. On the one hand, enforcement does indeed depend on the technical capacities and propensities of Greek governments to employ pro-government individuals rather than skilled managers to head government agencies. In turn, this has dampened efficient and unbiased enforcement. Owing to pressure from Greece’s lenders, who have linked the country’s fiscal derailment to maladministration, there has been some effort to streamline regulation and law enforcement. On the other hand, in various sectors (e.g., commercial shipping, mass media, and construction) there have always been resourceful interest groups and influential businessmen. Governments have been and remain unwilling or unable to deal with them.

In the past, including in the term of the previous government (2015 – 2019), government agencies and the judiciary were selective with regard to who should be consistently reviewed and prosecuted for penal-code violations, including for corruption. However, after the government turnover of July 2019, the new government launched a drive to nominate non-politicized appointees to management posts within law enforcement and regulatory agencies. In November 2019, the staff of the Competition Committee paid a visit to the central headquarters of Greece’s four major banks, making a sudden inspection of documents.

Adaptability

#30

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures, no matter how beneficial adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
6
No other country surveyed by the SGI has been subject to such intense or extensive scrutiny as Greece has under the Troika and the EU Task Force, which since 2015 has been replaced by the European Union’s Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS). Loan conditionality has obliged the country to respond to an externally imposed agenda.

Greece exited the Third Economic Adjustment Program (2015 – 2018) in August 2018. During the period under review, the government attempted to implement legislation that had been previously passed in accordance with the requirements of successive economic adjustment programs (the so-called Memoranda). Implementation had been delayed, as some of the measures contradicted the electoral program of the two coalition partners (Syriza and ANEL) that had held power since January 2015. For example, it was only in late autumn 2017 that the Ministry of Administrative Reconstruction adopted new measures for a performance-based review of Greek civil servants; such a review had never before taken place, and Syriza had persistently fought against it between 2010 and 2014. A second round of the same review started in the spring of 2019. The new center-right government, which assumed power in July 2019, has started a series of structural reforms. These include major administrative changes, along with changes to investment, labor-relations, migration and education policy intended to help Greece converge with the EU mainstream in these areas. It also announced cuts in the very high tax levels imposed by the previous government. However, the quality of implementation of these reforms remains to be seen.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively with international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
4
As a euro area member and participant in EU summits and ministerial meetings, Greece has engaged in international efforts to foster the provision of public goods. For instance, Greece has actively participated in international forums on environmental and cultural issues; it has also been vocal at the European level in pressuring for a coordinated response to migration challenges, emphasizing that migration from the developing world into Europe is not solely a Greek problem arising from its geographical position between Europe and Asia. However, given its own severe economic crisis in the 2010 – 2018 period, Greece was often on the receiving end of coordination rather than being a policy-setter. It has been unable to develop institutional capacities for fostering the provision of global public goods beyond its role as an EU member state. Given the scale and urgency of problems of the Greek economy, Greek governments have not been able to devote considerable effort or resources to ensuring that the country’s own national policies are in line with international norms and agreements.

Organizational Reform

#12

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
7
During the period under review, the monitoring of institutional governance arrangements was improved. The new government that took office during the summer of 2019 reorganized governance structures by appointing highly skilled experts or managers with job experience in the private sector to various management post across the public sector. All governance monitoring was executed from the top, namely either by the PMO or the office of the minister responsible for the new institutional arrangements. Since the summer of 2019, the PMO has been staffed by two government ministers without a portfolio as well as technocrats responsible for monitoring. Though other mechanisms for monitoring government have been available in the past, such as parliamentary and interministerial committees, these were mostly marginalized by the government serving from 2015 to 2019. However, there are signs that such committees are experiencing a resurgence under the new government.

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
6
In the 2015 – 2019 period, the Syriza-ANEL coalition government sought to enhance its strategic capacity in several ways, although in practice all strategy decisions were taken by a small circle of confidants around the prime minister, who usually relied on three government ministers without portfolio to assist him in carrying out his tasks and reform plans. Meanwhile, the Council of Administrative Reform continued its operation to oversee reforms in various policy sectors. The Hellenic Fiscal Council, an independent agency (as required under the Second Memorandum), continued its operations in the period under review, monitoring state finances. Similarly, the Office of the State Budget, a unit of parliament, also continued its task of monitoring the state’s finances and suggesting changes to economic policy.

However, improving the government’s strategic capacity became a lesser priority for the coalition government during its last year in power, as the elections of 2019 were approaching. Short-term electoral calculations rather than long-term reform strategies became the government’s top priority. One example was the government’s November 2018 proposal to reform the constitution to reflect the governing coalition’s preferences rather than well-thought-out principles on efficient political reform.

After the elections of July 2019, the new government devised plans to reform central-government institutions in a variety of policy sectors. In autumn 2019, it established a new National Security Council and a new National Authority on Transparency. Emphasizing the need to improve the long-term planning, programming and monitoring of public policies, the new government passed and implemented legislation that reorganized the Prime Minister’s Office (the PMO). The new PMO was renamed as the Presidency of the Government, and procedures designed to strengthen the state’s strategic capacity were quickly rolled out in different policy sectors. This included, for example, a long-term strategy for the digitalization of public services traditionally provided in person and on-site. The government also developed a long-term strategy designed to manage migration inflows and to facilitate the transfer of migrants from overcrowded islands in the Aegean Sea to the Greek mainland. Overall, strategic capacity that draws on scientific knowledge and long-term planning has improved.
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