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Ladies and Gentlemen,
I would like to thank you for organising this meeting, under the aegis of the Region of Attica, considering it as a means towards an objective that has been sought for many decades for the Modern Greek State.
The creation of a modern public administration to be built on the principles of meritocracy and transparency, free from chronic vulnerabilities resulting from party policies, red tape, corruption, lack of coordination and absence of planning.
A public administration to be based on social participation and continuous social control.
A public administration to establish a relationship of trust and cooperation between the State and the citizen.
A public administration to serve the ever expanding, quantitatively and qualitatively, needs of our society, due to the humanitarian crisis.
A public administration boasting upgraded structures and resources.
A public administration to be staffed by an administrative personnel that will be evaluated on the basis of meritocracy, will assume substantial responsibilities based on their knowledge, skills and experience, and will undertake specific obligations with social accountability.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
One of the most important tasks for the new Administrative Authority of the Region of Attica to be brought before the Regional Council was to prevent the "evaluation" process put forth by the previous government from being applied.
This is because such evaluation does not relate to reality; it is rather an attempt to covertly impose redundancies.
However, especially in the current circumstances, public administration in Greece does not need redundancies, only real assessment.
Meritocracy and not party-tocracy, based on objective indicators, subject to control instruments.
At this point I would like to share with you some key findings from to-date administrative experience since our taking office. These findings have been elaborated in cooperation with brilliant administrative scientists who are committed to the consolidation of the Administrative Science.
What we experience intensely is formalism in the operation of services.
This concept puts emphasis on formalities not on results, certainly not to the benefit of people and businesses of the region and beyond.
I am referring to the intransparent, complex systems of infinite laws and decrees, which contribute to corruption rather than serve the citizens.
A second observation of mine has to do with the competence of the Region of Attica.
At my request, I received a 3,000 pages report with our... responsibilities.
I therefore came to the conclusion that the problem lies within the Region of Attica itself, i.e. in one administrative body, in a sense that the services of all eight regional units not only fail to communicate with one another, but they also fail to operate in the same way.
A third finding arises from the fact that almost all of the heads of the regional directorates have been appointed under a direct mandate from the previously elected regional authorities.
Under these circumstances, how can I establish a merit-based, objective system for the selection of the heads of directorates?
It must be a fair and objective system to finally meet the needs of a modern public administration for the citizen, of the citizen, by the citizen.
A reliable, effective, merit-based Public Administration.
These are the three conditions for a modern public administration to perform its dual role: to become a new model of power and to operate as part of a wider effort towards reconstructing the country and relaunching the economy.
The way to this new public administration is far from easy.
Because over decades it has been constructed around political motivations, being "hostage" of unreliability, corruption and clientelism.
Yet, later on — what an irony— the very same political forces deliberately, for their own political benefits, came up with an alleged "assessment" only to satisfy the specific economic and social conditions of the Memoranda, with a view to privatising a series of competences, in the context of a neoliberal approach of public sector.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
You know better than me that, unfortunately, Greece is a country where we have many more laws than we actually need.
There is a legislative complexity that, in fact, preserves corruption and the daily citizens' ordeal in their dealings with public administration.
Now, after the election of the new government, it is the time for a big change.
It is time to break free from past perceptions and models.
It is time to break free from special interest groups.
It is time to assume a big responsibility.
It is time to enact our commitments made to the citizens.
It is time for Public Administration to perform its role, which is neither to reproduce a corrupt model of power nor to preserve the privileges of some groups of people holding title-only paid jobs.
Indeed, holding paid jobs that exist in name only is not a contemporary phenomenon – this is dated back to the era of the Greek Revolution.
At those times, Ioannis Kapodistrias, who himself made sure that, within the framework of his own policy of reforming public administration, Ministries were staffed only with the personnel that was absolutely necessary, stated that the Revolution ''produced a large number of idle people, who wanted to make a living out of the State...''.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
The time has come to make decisions and take actions. In order for our country to acquire a public administration worthy of its citizens, a public administration that society needs and current circumstances demand.
For example, the time has come to establish and strengthen a culture of setting objectives in public administration. This setting of objectives will take in account the real needs of citizens and society.
I am not carrying coals to Newcastle.
The Hellenic Parliament has already passed a relevant legislative framework for the setting of objectives in public administration back in 2004, but this law has not been implemented yet.
Let's hope that the then Minister of the Interior, who was the inspiration behind this law, will be able to witness the implementation of this law during his term as President of the Hellenic Republic.
The time has also come to upgrade the National Centre for Public Administration and utilize truly the National School for Public Administration, in order to organise and staff the new Public Administration.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Einstein used to say that "Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them".
Therefore, we have to roll up our sleeves, stop talking and start working.
We have to work hard in order to establish a new Hellenic Public Administration Model.
What do we need?
Right now, we need an overall strategic vision from the political leadership, with the society's cooperation and consent.
We need a rational organizing of all agencies and bodies, on the basis of a clear planning and defined responsibilities.
We need horizontal coordination structures, such as interministerial branches, in order to focus on getting results, not in passing any more laws.
Finally, we need to upgrade the role of public servants, who will assume a decisive role in the social development and productive reconstruction of our country, after the adoption of the necessary reforms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear President,
We are awaiting with great interest the OECD's Report, entitled "Governing the City". This report presents, through two case studies, the policy on the sectors of transport and spatial planning. One of these cases is the case of metropolitan governance in Attica.
The report's conclusions will be presented later.
However, allow me to pinpoint four long term malignancies we need to fight against:
the gap between policy planning and policy implementation,
the lack of coordination and participation of all involved agencies,
the occasional nature of policy planning,
and the total lack of proper scheduling.
Unfortunately, this is the fate of all reports.
So, the bet we have to win is to put our words into acts,
to convert conclusions into decisions,
in order to build an administrative system which is democratically structured, serving the people and respecting the Constitution.
Good luck with your deliberations at this one day conference.


Independent Office of International Affairs

Tel.: +30 213 2063 521, 529, 812, 668.
e-mail: oia@patt.gov.gr

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