PELOPONNESE DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS:  GLOOMY OUTLOOK FOR MANI

The Development Congress of the Peloponnese Administrative Region took place in Tripoli in February 2018. It was the 10th of thirteen (13) congresses that are supposed to take place in the capital of each Greek administrative region. These congresses are organised by the Ministry of Development and Finance together with each region. According to the government, the goal of these congresses is the in-depth investigation of the production capacity of each region and  the drafting of a coherent implementation plan for economic reconstruction. This was supposed to happen through consultation during the work of the Congress, resulting in establishing a road map of procedures according to the priorities set out in the “National Development Strategy 2021” and the initiatives that have already been planned or developed, thus marking the transition from the economic crisis to the equitable development for the region.

The generalities of targets and goals, as described above, have probably been set vague on purpose, so that personal interests are promoted through unclear statements and development congresses. During the three days of the Congress in Tripoli, the vague speeches of the ministers and the pretentious public statements made at press conferences by central and local government politicians did not lead to any conclusions and were definitely not conducive to triggering a process of regional development. The speeches of the local politicians, shortened to fit the timelines of the Congress, did not contribute anything essential to the Congress, as they were supposed to do. There was also no provision for statements of case or pleadings to be submitted. Two months after the conclusion of the Congress and the ensuing discussions, recommendations and suggestions, there has been no progress.

   In order to achieve a proportionate and equitable development among all Greek administrative regions, the development budget needs to be divided equitably. Based on fixed data, such as the population, the area and the number of dwellings, which have been determined by the Hellenic Statistical Authority, stable allocation guidelines of the available resources could be established. Realistic projections of the central and the regional budget could be established and communicated to the relevant organisations and agencies, for further action. If this procedure were to be followed, allocation of funds would be a lot more efficient and political/personal gains would be reduced.

   Once more, our region was left by the wayside by the Peloponnese Region Development Congress. Mani’s needs, even after the considerable tourist development of the last decades, once more were not taken into account. As a matter of fact, not even one of the proposed projects or procedures addressed our area! It seems that being ignored by the state and by the regional public investment programs has become business as usual. A quick glance at the official data provided by the Hellenic Statistical Authority proves this injustice. If the allocation of the development funds were done in a fair way, i.e. taking into account the population, the area and  the number of dwellings, Mani (Eastern and Western) should receive 4,4% of the total regional public investment funds for the Peloponnese  (we arrived at the 4,4% percentage by taking into account the following data: a) total population of the Peloponnese 577.903 inhabitants and of Mani 19.950 inhabitants, b) total number of dwellings of the Peloponnese 411.462, and of Mani 22.692 and c) total area of the Peloponnese 21.550 km2 and of Mani 913,3 km2). It is obvious to anyone who has even a passing familiarity with Mani and its villages, that for many decades the investment funds allocated to our area do not even amount to 1/3 of the 4,4% that our area is entited to according to an equitable distribution of the development resources.

The recent Peloponnese Development Congress is tangible proof of the long-term negative attitude of politicians towards Mani. It is now left up to Maniots and philo-Maniots, who care about our area’s development, to carefully evaluate the above data and take action accordingly. We would like to stress once more, that injustices of this kind are not to be dealt by using with personal gain politics, but with common rallying and organisation of the considerable Mani human resources.

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