The main advantage of municipal government, particularly at the local level, is the ability of citizens to have direct access to the results produced by their elected representatives during their term of office. Even in large cities, despite their high building density and many districts, the evaluation of results can be very reliable. However, visibility of actions and assessment of the municipal government’s work is easier in rural areas with a small-scale urban fabric, such as Mani. If we accept that there are two major themes that constitute the main οbjectives of local government, i.e., a) quality of life and b) natural environment, then in the urban municipalities, due to the high density of population, the quality of life should be the first priority, while rural municipalities, due to their large territorial area, should prioritise the natural environment. The common rule, in order to achieve efficiency in both cases, is the obligation to apply the following basic economic rule: “maximising the return on the financial resources allocated at the lowest possible cost”.

At each level of operation of the elected bodies, and especially at the leadership levels, we need to examine the incentives that prompted elected officials to participate in the local government. It is certain that if the real cause of this impulse is the sincere desire to offer social work and provided, of course, that this desire is combined with competence acquired through studies and/or professional experience, the results will be visible and measurable, so that they can be recognised by any bona fide observer. Usually, however, human passions, such as the thirst for glory and money, are the main motives for participating in the local government. Although the pursuit of glory, in its pure form, is a legitimate ambition for humans, it often loses its purity under the strong pressure to materialise and it leads to uncontrollable actions. Becoming rich through compensation provided by a municipal government to its elected officials is impossible. Municipal politicians, however, can become rich through the many decision-making powers granted to them by the legislative framework and the lax internal control mechanisms for these decisions. It is perhaps no coincidence that in practice the decisions of local government bodies are not subject to effective social scrutiny by the public. Summarising the preceding thoughts, we conclude that only the existence of a conscious willingness for social contribution through municipal government institutions can provide positive results for the society. The reward for local politicians should not be personal enrichment, but rather the satisfaction of conscienciously performing one’s duties, which sometimes can also bring glory to some extent. 

One way of measuring results in rural municipalities is by observing improvements in the physical environment (municipal roads and squares, rural roads, municipal buildings and monuments, harbours). Their maintenance is financed annually from the state budget and requires coordinated action, based on the principle of “maximising results at the lowest cost”, in order to implement the necessary projects in an efficient manner. A prerequisite for the completion of these works is the full use of human resources within the scope of their duties and, above all, the capability of the elected politicians to plan and coordinate all the necessary phases from preparation to completion.

Another way of measuring results in rural municipalities is by observing improvements in the areas related to quality of life (water supply, drainage, sewage, electricity, cleaniness of municipal spaces, solid household waste). Daily local government actions in these areas (particularly in those areas that are financed directly by the users of these services) are easily observable, and conclusions about the effectiveness of these services and the coordinative capacity of the elected politicians can be drawn easily. It should be noted that for the “quality of life” projects a significant amount of funding is required, and that the search for funding from the central government is the primary responsibility of the municipal authorities, both unilateral and collective.

We hope that in the upcoming municipal elections the voters will consider the thoughts developed in this editorial and choose those candidates who will be able to create maximum efficiency for the benefit of our society.



From the encyclopedia:  Local Government: a) administration without dependence, b) institution that organises the administration of a region by representatives of local communities or a section of a special public organisation without substantial involvement of the state.In the old days, in the era of the dominance of the “katharevousa”,[1] when there was a complete mismatch between a name and its meanings in practice, the expression “κατεὐφημισμόν” was used. This is how local government works in practice, i.e., in complete dependence on the goals of the state administration and with the aim of promoting those matters which it does not wish or does not have the ability to implement. In addition to promoting the persons it wishes to appoint to leading positions in local government institutions, the central government also controls the rates of grants through which the powers delegated to local government can be promoted to a minimum extent. In short, in our everyday language, local government is the step child (= child of inferior status who helps with the chores) of the state administration. Nevertheless, this institutional expression has a comparative advantage: it is in close proximity to the citizens and thus the possibilities of monitoring the events unfolding with, and by, the actions of its representatives, as well as to some extent the possibilities of intervention, are easier. The reflection that preceded is a prelude to a basic review οf the local government period that will end with next October’s elections, which will highlight the people who will play a leading role in the next five-year local government period. We will record our observations below.

Contributing to the inefficiency of the institution of local government is the total absence of any relevant reference to the country’s Constitution. If such a reference existed, it could mitigate the complete fluidity regarding the main characteristics of the institution. Each state government can decide, through its own legislation, on the number of elected officials, on the duration of the municipal government periods, on the electoral system, on the powers of their unilateral and collective bodies, but also on the bulk of their financial resources, which come from the state budget and are distributed through grants. As an extension of this, the government at the time decided that the 2019 local government elections would be held under a proportional representation electoral system even though the general political climate was extremely conflicting, the ambitions of the leaders in the local government groups were unrestrained and, consequently, decision-making by the collective bodies was highly problematic. Some corrective legislative interventions by the next government, but mainly the holding of meetings of the collective bodies by teleconferencing, balanced to a certain extent the chaos that had been created. The newest legislation, through which the municipal elections of next October will be held, brought back the pre-existing electoral system, which strengthened the majority combination and provided it with an enhanced majority in the collective bodies, but it also eliminated one of the few positive provisions of the previous electoral system: the election of members of the Municipal Communities with separate ballots and their mandatory financial support from the municipal budget for the execution of small maintenance projects of the local infrastructure. The abolition of this arrangement fully confirms the aforementioned trend towards full control of local government by the central administration.

In our region, Mani, the strong negative effects of the electoral system of the simple proportional representation were also felt and created dissonance. In the municipality of Western Mani in particular, the mayor had to cooperate with two minority municipal groups in order for the institution to function properly. Two favourable circumstances, as the “deus ex machina” of the ancient Greek tragedies, balanced to a certain extent the inability to produce work, even the maintenance of critical municipal infrastructure, by the local governments of our region. We are referring to: a) the assignment of the Ministry of Interior to our compatriot politician who, due to the need to restore public infrastructure from the wildfires of 2020 and 2021 in Laconia, financed Eastern Mani with large sums of money and b) the election of our compatriot to the position of Regional Governor who, when he was given the legal opportunity, tried to counteract the permanent marginalisation of Mani in the financing of public infrastructure projects. A great opportunity for qualitative and quantitative upgrading of the territorial area of Mani, through the EU-funded program “Integrated Spatial Investments” was underutilised. Delayed or even faulty drafting of technical studies for necessary public projects, underfunding of private investments in the tourism sector, emphasis on one-time cultural actions, or in some cases with directed beneficiaries, minimise the footprint on the Mani area of this significant amount of funding which, unfortunately, is not repeatable.

It seems that in our region the lessons of the past are reflected when they collide with personal ambitions. These lessons, which have arisen from objective and subjective reasons (small population, great distance from decision-making centres, individualistic views of things, reduced willingness of social contribution, etc.), for the rational thinkers, lead to self-evident tendencies towards universal cooperation, which is the only way to produce improved results. It seems, in the first ten days of August, as this text is being written, that instead of joint activities in view of the October municipal elections, a more intense division will emerge. It seems that there is a complete ignorance of the risk of even greater degradation of the area even though the external economic conditions, due to the quality of the geographic and climatic environment, are favourable…


[1] archaic official language used by the Greek state until 1976 when it was replaced by “dimotiki” (everyday colloquial language)


Productivity expresses how efficiently and effectively resources (capital, labour, entrepreneurship, technology) are used to produce goods and services. This definition applies both at a) the level of business-household and b) the level of business sectors or government entities. At the business-household level, productivity is easy to establish, because effective management is immediately ascertainable and can be determined by simple observation. At the sectoral level, the observations are relatively more difficult to establish, but again, through the multi-information that is characteristic of our times, reliable findings can be made.

At the third and last level, the state level, productivity results from effective management in the areas of state activity (mainly public finance, defence and security, public health and public education). At this level, the initial findings are relatively easy, as they are derived from the opinion of the direct beneficiaries, i.e., the citizens, through the electoral process. However, at this level, because of its large size, the many conflicting or hidden interests and the many methods of deception that can be deployed, it is often the case that the data is false and misleading and does not correspond to real facts. The state of bankruptcy Greece found itself in over the past decade is irrefutable proof of this. The main cause of the apparent and false prosperity, as it was finally revealed, was not the increased productivity of the state administration, but the concealment and the methodical downplaying of the country’s extensive borrowing and its consequences on the finances of its citizens.

It can be seen, from the course of public finances especially in the last five years, that state administrations and the general management of the national economy are going through an honest and effective phase, with productivity being the compass for the formulation of individual policy proposals in the management of all sectors. This is a comforting fact that can lead to a first conclusion that for the general economic development of the country, the content of the concept of “productivity” could be a dominant factor in the sphere of economic activity at the family and business level; from these two levels it can then be passed on in a generalized form to the third level, the state development priorities and the legislative regulations that will give them elements of timelessness.

As we attempt a more specific approach to the sensitive economic data of the country, our attention focuses on the negative trade balance and the soaring trade deficit recorded in 2022, which climbed to a 14-year record level, despite the impressive rise in exports, which were nevertheless outstripped by imports. A brief look at these figures leads to the conclusion that there is indeed an improvement in the productivity of the goods manufactured in the country, as reflected by the significant increase in exports, but the higher increase in the value of imported goods is a warning bell of the risk of creating a permanent economic imbalance. These findings, in the final analysis, prove that our country is lagging behind in the industrial sector, especially in the field of processing raw materials through vertical integration of production up to the final product to be used. By improving productivity in the industrial sector in this way, many of the imported products can be substituted by domestically produced ones, thus improvinge   the trade balance. Certainly, the promotion of this objective will need to be based on the improvement of productivity (labour, capital, entrepreneurship, technological applications) and its positive consequences will be reflected in employment, return on capital and even an increase in government revenues, which will be available for broader social purposes.

The search for a living model that had shaped high productivity at the first level (family-microenterprise) leads to the way the family economy and microenterprises operated in Mani for many centuries until the 1980s. The difficulties in maximising the performance of small farm properties due to the infertile soil were addressed by making full use of all available means: the continuous cultivation of fields alternatively with cereals and legumes; the enhancement of soil performance by recycling animal waste; the mutual exchange of working animals for farm work (ploughing, threshing, transport); the collective mobilisation of labour for oil harvesting; generalised domestic livestock farming for the production and consumption of livestock products that were sufficient for family needs and usually in surplus. Even more so, by making use of the seasonally surplus workforce, securing wages for agricultural work in the richer neighbouring areas of Messinia and Laconia. In the Maniot economy, concepts of quality of life that appear with intensity in our days, such as the protection of the environment from extraordinary weather phenomena (with automatic generalised mobilisation of all available means to deal with fires and floods) and minimisation of the volume of waste (with total recycling of all by-products of agricultural and livestock production) were integrated into everyday life and their application was self-evident. Thus, the increase in productivity (of land, labour, available farming resources) was combined with the quality of life, which is still a concern in our time…



In Mani with its strong family traditions, the horizons of interest of its inhabitants were, for many centuries, limited. In the old closed societies of small villages, these interests were confined to the interior of the patriarchal family or perhaps to their village boundaries. People built their houses on barren land, cultivated the few fertile soils and grazed their livestock in common pastures. Only in exceptional circumstances, those that threatened the long-term balance of space and security of life, did Maniots undertake joint actions designed to safeguard pre-existing situations. In our century, however, these closed small societies have opened up permanently. The sources of income have also opened up with them. Barren land has, in many locations, become more profitable than fertile land, and its residential development yields a lot more income than many fertile lands of the same size. Despite all this, joint management, based on the the whole land area, has not made significant progress. Joint management efforts have been limited to uncoordinated loud protests and incomplete approaches to the development of new situations, which are the consequence of generalised planning and legislative initiatives undertaken at the central level.

The residential area that is clearly designated, with the exception of Gytheio, dates back to 1923, and is defined as the outline of the houses that existed then. The interventions to enlarge it, as a result of either social needs or political interests, expanded the residential areas to a certain extent and created new situations, from which many landowners benefited and improved their finances. Expansions of residential space, combined with the possibility of building outside residential areas for plots of land larger than four stremmas, came about through successive legislation starting as far back as 1955. These legislations referred to the possibility of building on small lots with frontage on provincial and municipal (formerly community) roads. A significant boost to construction activity was also allowed by the possibility of building on plots, self-contained before 1985, that were located in the zone of 800 meters from the center of the settlements that were more than two kilometers from the sea and had been classified as population stagnant.

These legislative regulations, which are positive for the finances of many families in Mani, have been inadequately applied by many beneficiaries and government bodies. Tritsis’ legislation for small urban planning initiatives with the provision of roads and squares in the zone of 800 meters of stagnant settlements, was silenced by his successors in the Ministry of Urban Planning and by the Prefects who were deciding to which settlements this legislation was applicable. Land concessions to common use before the issuance of building permits for off-plan incomplete plots, although they were drawn up with notary deeds and were registered in the land registry offices, remained in most cases on paper, due to the inertia of local government representatives to implement them. Something similar happened with the municipal roads, for which there are not even clear procedures for their final determination in each municipality.

In view of the intense tourist development in the country, and particularly of Mani, the need arose for changes in the definition of the urban area of each district, starting from the existing urban situation. The funding from the Development and Stability Fund for the preparation of Local Special and Urban Plans, settlement delimitation studies, municipal road designation, and their subsequent publication, are, in principle, an important contribution to the designation of the residential area. However, it has not become clear how long the whole procedure will take nor have the elements that will be taken into account in order to draw up the urban plan for each settlement been defined. Usually, because it is in the interests of the designers to prolong the completion time of the work and consequently their fees, the contractual time is extended significantly. However, this delay is in direct conflict with the interests of landowners in the study areas, since they are thus deprived of the exercise of their rights over their properties.

Several problems regarding the issuance of building permits have recently appeared in many areas of Mani, especially in those for which there is a significant demand for tourist development through proposals for inclusion in investment laws. There may be a basis for the state’s hesitancy to introduce transitional legislative arrangements, for fear of creating a new generation of residential distortions, but it loses its justification when the supervising ministers cannot ensure the timely completion and implementation of the Local Urban Plans under preparation. An additional and particularly important factor is to ensure transparency in all phases of the development of this urban planning process. It is necessary that the elected local authorities have full knowledge of the framework in which the urban plans of their area will be drawn up. This knowledge, together with the possibility for improvement and the relating of the opinion of their citizens with legitimate claims to the appropriate authorities should be the first obligations of the local politicians. This is because Urban Plans do not only concern the current residents, but mainly the generations to come…



Studies concerning the evolution of nations in their historical course over the centuries conclude that the nations which survive are the ones which have a strong cultural base. Migrations, which lead to mixing of population groups with different cultural backgrounds, ultimately result in the predominance of the main characteristics of the culturally stronger population group. Mani’s history confirms these findings. Since the 3rd century AD, when it began to emerge as an autonomous region, it was subjected to diverse relocations of population groups (Romans, Slavs, Franks, Arvanites, Venetians). But with language being the main cultural element from the start, and religion afterwards, it was able to assimilate and integrate most of the different characteristics of these populations into its own cultural backgrounds. An important factor in this development was the autonomy of the region, based on the geophysical structure of its terrain and the warlike character of its inhabitants. The martial nature of the area increasingly developed by enriching the martial ability of its original inhabitants, inherited from their Spartan origins, with corresponding characteristics of the population groups that were relocated to its geographical area.

With the establishment of the modern Greek state, the autonomous characteristics of the region began to gradually fade, first with its integration into the administrative and legal system of the state and then with the removal of its transportation isolation. On the other hand, the migratory tendency of its overpopulation, which had been created in the previous period, caused in some cases a strong weakening of the cultural characteristics of the region.

However, during the last few decades, external changes, both of an administrative and economic nature, have changed the cultural backgrounds that had existed until then. The accession to the European Union, and especially the globalisation, accompanied by easy and rapid movement of people and goods, created new conditions of economic balance in the geographical area of Mani. Its privileged geophysical and climatic characteristics, due to the “opening up” caused by the removal of its transportation isolation, began to attract more and more visitors as well as people wishing to settle permanently in the area. This trend leads year after year to the generation of new income, to the extent of more than covering the shortfall in income from local production sources. What is required, in order to shape the characteristics of Mani of the future, is to make effective use of these trends for the benefit of its residents, both permanent and relocated, as well as the quality upgrade of the area. Above all, however, it is the formation of the necessary new cultural backgrounds that will harmoniously integrate the new population groups settling in the area.

The partitioning of properties, a legacy of the long-standing institution of patriarchal families, creates the first shield against large investment projects that would alter the natural characteristics of the area. It is also an indirect incentive to reinvest in our geographical area the incomes generated by the large number of visitors and the sale of houses and land. If entrepreneurs actually reinvest in Mani, the only thing that will be additionally required is the improvement of the quality of operation of the new investments according to the demands of the tourist market. However, achieving this will require good planning and, above all, joint action.

The aim will always be to offer better quality services by local entrepreneurs in a competitive environment. They, due to the opening of markets, will have to compete with others who may have more investment funds, easier access to international tourist agencies and more organised services for visitors. It goes without saying that this requirement leads to the need for reformed cultural backgrounds resulting from the qualitative upgrading of education and training in the region. We believe that parents have the first say in advancing this pursuit. If conscious parents generally have an obligation to take care of their children’s education, parents-entrepreneurs have a greater obligation to ensure that lasting quality is an integral part of their family businesses. Since the local entrepreneurs of the coming decades will have attended schools in the region, at least in the first stage, it becomes a necessity to upgrade their quality. In order to achieve this goal, the role of parents and local self-governing bodies is as important as the role of teachers and public education in general. Only close partnerships between these factors can lead to the desired results. The historical approach of this kind of partnerships, those created a few decades ago and which led to a revival of the educational structures of our region, could serve as a model for the proposed partnerships.



It is 25 years since one Saturday night the members of our association decided to publish a monthly newspaper with the title MANIOT SOLIDARITY. We started with the desire to find a way for the message of SOLIDARITY to overcome all divisional tendencies, which the Maniots and philo-Maniots were trying to undo. It was not easy, but when the will is strong, all obstacles can be overcome. The difficulties of starting a newspaper were many: none of us knew anything about publishing, and particularly the technical part of this new endeavour was forbidding; we had to face personal and local rivalries and numerous negative reactions from the field of micro-politics. However, we managed to overcome all the adversities that presented themselves by our strong will to create a collaborative dimension and thus contribute to the qualitative and economic development of our region and the improvement of the life of its inhabitants. The fact that this newspaper has reached its readers without interruption every month for all these 25 years is due to the high ideals and lofty goals at the founding of the publication. It was these aims that led us year after year to improve each edition.

The newspaper’s content was crystallised from the beginning. Since human behaviour is, to a large extent, predetermined by the initial genetic characteristics of our ancestors, we agreed that our focus should be the presentation of the Mani of yesterday. It was a difficult argument, given that we would have to resort to historical research and that the findings were mostly scattered and fragmentary. We had to discover these fragments, connect them together and group them. In the name of the high aims of the publication, we shouldered the necessary cost, in time and intensity of effort, to further the original goals. The results of this extensive historical research presented in each monthly issue of MANIOT SOLIDARITY were revisited and homogenised. This is how the two-volume book entitled PAGES FROM THE HISTORY OF MANI was created. The book presents the historical events associated with Mani, from the early years, when it appeared independently on the historical scene, until the outbreak of the Revolution of 1821.

It goes without saying that most of the material is dedicated to the Mani of today and to all Maniots, whether they reside in our area or elsewhere. However, our definition of the concept “news” is different than the one given by most modern newspapers. In our case, we filter out the news that conceals petty political agendas, or news that feeds gossip and contradicts the principle of SOLIDARITY, the overriding aim of this publication.

Since we look forward to the Mani of the future, a Mani that is brighter, open to those who approach it with a friendly attitude, a Mani in continuous economic progress, it is necessary that an important part of our content concerns the development prospects of our region. Since funding for public projects is limited, due to the small political influence resulting from the small number of residents, we attempt to identify and present in a gentle way the shortcomings that lead to reduced efficiency of the projects.

In the 25 years since the beginning of this publication, much has changed in terms of our readership; a significant number of the members of our association are no longer with us, and a new generation of readers has emerged, with a different starting culture. Therefore, we thought it was appropriate to form and display our website, www.maniatiki.gr on the Internet, with a dense content of material. There, in addition to important articles from each issue of the printed publication, many facts, mainly historical-geographical data about our region, but also articles of a timeless nature by prominent Maniots, have been posted on a permanent basis. The high traffic of the website has justified this initiative.

In this retrospective text, which is related to our long publishing effort, it would be remiss if no reference was made to the crucial points of this journey. A strong impetus at the starting point was the voluntary financial contribution of a large number of our members, while in the long course the cost of the publication is limited only to the printing and mailing costs. All the rest (energy, telephone, processing, subscription collection costs, accounting, creation and formatting of the material of each issue) is covered, at no expense to the association, by the main contributors to the publication. However, strong financial shocks have been created by the three increases in postal fees as well as the recent increase in the cost of printing materials (paper and ink). This last obstacle has been overcome by the fact that the main contributors to the publication have taken over the last phase of the layout of the material, i.e., the pagination of the material to be printed.

It would be an omission in this report if we did not note, along with our thanks, the strong contribution to the progress of our publishing effort, of Maniot and philo-Maniot businessmen, who entrusted us with entries promoting their business activities through the columns of our newspaper. In closing, we feel obliged to thank, also on this occasion, all our faithful subscribers who pay their annual subscription fee on time, with many of them paying paying more than the subscription fee.

It is with these pillars of support that we continue our publishing effort, envisioning Mani of the future, as brighter, more cooperative and with increased prosperity for its children.



The tragic train accident in the valley of Tempi has strongly shocked Greek society. The reports and the accompanying images have overturned individual laissez-faire attitudes, family complacency and ambitious political plans for success. The emotions created have thoroughly permeated all layers of our society horizontally and vertically. It seems that as long as this shock lasts, radical changes will be initiated in the long-established perceptions of easy wealth and indifference to the societal consequences, which are held by a large part of the country’s population.

Until now, the mismanagement of public transport projects has been limited mainly to material losses, with a significant part of the financing being used for purposes other than those that it was intended to promote. Dealing with this type of mismanagement was aimed mainly at silencing rather than eliminating these wrongdoings. An extended parasitic middle class benefited financially and in return supported the political leaders that tolerated and covered these wrongdoings. Until now, these administrations have mainly led to the quiet deterioration of public finances. This deficiency was compensated for mainly by means of indirect taxation, which mostly affects the lower strata of society, and in this way everything was taken care of for the protagonists of the fraud and their supporters. Car accidents were excessive in comparison with other European countries, but because they were scattered over time, they appeared for a short time in the public sphere and then they were quickly forgotten. The same thing happened with maritime and air accidents. The statements by the government officials promising to address the causes of these accidents were also quickly forgotten. Now, however, the shock is too strong due to the large number and the young age of the victims, as well as due to the biblical images that we all saw, vividly depicting the disaster. Society now looks forward to an in-depth and retrospective investigation in order to find the causes which, while creating economic benefits for a few, ultimately led to the loss of life of innocent young people. The election period in which the country finds itself pushes for “cleansing” processes, and citizens expect to see them consolidated before the impact of the shock wears off.

As it appears from the data so far, the fatal railway accident at Tempi resulted from the combination of two main causes: a) the deficient supply of services in key sectors and b) the failure to implement necessary modernisation investments. The first is the combined result of entrenched attitudes and a lack of basic education. The second is an extension of common practices in the execution of public works. It should be noted at this point that the aforementioned are phenomena which, in most cases, are passed over without much social reaction. It is from this lethargy that the deaths of our unfortunate young people have come to bring society out. Let us be optimistic that they will succeed in doing so by uprooting deeply entrenched attitudes.

The first of the above-mentioned causes is rooted in the inefficiency of the country’s educational system in its obligation to provide students with a broad base of general education. This inadequacy prevents the effective retraining of the workforce which, due to the rapid change in the demand for specific skills in the labour market, is deemed necessary to combat unemployment. Unfortunately, the origins of the problem are not understood by a large part of society, which wants to believe that retraining can be carried out through formal seminars, which the trainees do not even bother to attend regularly and in their entirety.

The second of the causes mentioned above, the generalised underperformance of public works, and especially of transport projects that have a more direct impact on the safety of citizens, is a permanent situation in our country. (We analysed this problem in its entirety in the editorial of the March 2023 (No. 288) issue of MANIOT SOLIDARITY, which was entitled: European Community Programs: EU Funds Inefficiently Used). Theentire development – grid – study – tender – implementation – delivery – commissioning – is carried out within a small circle of persons far from societal control. Unfortunately, the relevant legislation also supports this approach. The following few observations confirm our views:

a) the techno financial studies, which are the starting point for the implementation of projects, are often revised during the course of construction, resulting in significant financial impacts on public finances, without the authors being held responsible;

b) the original studies are often revised in terms of the allocation of amounts to the individual works foreseen for each project, often even by providing for new works with new prices that had not emerged through the tendering process;

c) the above often lead to additional costs that significantly increase the cost of their implementation;

d) the acceptance of the projects is usually carried out using random approaches since the supervisory controls during their execution are limited; and

e) the deadline for automatic approval and amortisation of responsibilities for any bad work is very short.

Unfortunately, most of the above are also true for the long-running project to allow remote control of the Greek railways, the lack of which contributed to the recent tragic accident at Tempi.

Most of the aforementioned observations also apply to the few public road works that have been or are being carried out in the Mani region, fortunately with limited impact on the safety of citizens so far.

                                                                                                     ΤΗΕ ΕDITORIAL BOARD


The European Community Program 2014-2020, which was extended until 2022, is now a thing of the past. Now is the time of reckoning. Brussels will soon reach its conclusions and present them. We have been following the course and development of this program and will be presenting some of the facts regarding projects that have been financed by the European Community Program 2014-2020 below.

Mature projects have been integrated with long delays. For the most part, the institutions, mainly state and local authorities, which had not prepared the necessary technical and economic studies in time and had not obtained the permits required by the current legislation, were responsible. Many bodies, mainly local authorities, imagined that with just a project title and a brief cover letter they would win the coveted funding for a project important to their region and its inhabitants. When they realised their delusion, they discovered that the time had advanced significantly and that the remaining time until the end of the program was simply not enough. Thus, their ambitions remained unfulfilled.

The projects included and financed by the European Community Program 2014-2020 required a standard fulfillment of conditions, but in many of them the content of the actions necessary to be undertaken was precarious and uncertain. Dealing with the problems that arose was at best time-consuming and poorly-coordinated, resulting in additional delays. The Technical Assistance foreseen by the legislation of the European Union, and generously financed by the departments responsible for monitoring the implementation of each project, in practice made little contribution.

In the grid of phases from financing to awarding a contract, although the timeframe had been limited by recent legislation, the increased rights of the tenderers to submit objections prolonged the finalisation of the procedures until the signing of the contracts with the successful bidders.

The main problems, however, concerned the implementation phase of the projects, whether they were technical or societal. The limited possibilities for the timely development of the planned phases, due to the limited human and technical resources of many of the project contractors, resulted in new delays as well as shortcomings in the practical implementation of the contractual obligations of the successful bidders.

In practice, the ability to exercise effective supervision during the execution of the projects was also limited, as was the ability to prevent any deviations from the provisions of the contract articles and timely undo any failures. The relaxed legislation regarding the treatment of any bad workmanship, or, more generally, deviations from the contractual obligations, led to a looser implementation of the content of the contracts, which ultimately resulted in a loose approach to the intended goals for the execution of the projects. In particular, the amortisation of contractual obligations for good performance, and the automatic final acceptance of projects as well performed in a short time, increased the slack during the execution phases.

Finally, the web of deviations from rationality is sealed by the “anguish” of the political heads of the departments or services responsible for promoting Community Programs to show absorption of the relevant credits allocated by the European Union. The absorption of the funds is an apparent reinforcement of these agencies’ political profile, as being active in promoting projects to be implemented. But this is not what society and citizens want. The question is the essential efficiency of the projects, what people call “making the money work”. We believe that this can be achieved if the conditions are created for addressing the problems mentioned above, both at the legislative level and at the level of planning and execution of the projects, by the competent agencies and services. It is a pity that the huge funding from the many European Community Support Frameworks that have been implemented in the country from 1980 until today have produced much smaller results than expected. Improving the efficiency of Εuropean Community funding will also bring about improvements at the qualitative level, since it will significantly limit the corruption and illegal practices that appear prominently in the financial indicators of international rating agencies.

In our region, Mani, the aforementioned pathogens, during the implementation of the few European Community Programs allocated to the region, have a magnified form. The main reason for this is that our region is far away from the control and supervision centers, but also has limited local supervision possibilities. These causes and the limited capacity to draw up public investment proposals in full are responsible for the strong lag of public investment compared with that promoted by the private sector. Let us hope that the local human resources will collaborate and focus their efforts on reversing these negatives in the near future.



As equal citizens of our state, it goes without saying that the mandate we give to our representatives, elected by universal suffrage, is a mandate to maximise the effectiveness of their political administration. This authority is granted on the condition of broad agreement on the objectives pursued and of minimising the required costs. All this is described extensively and in detail for each area of political activity in the current Constitution. However, these are theoretical obligations that vary considerably in their implementation, mainly due to interference from the human factor, which dilutes the general objectives in favour of individuals or groups that have greater interference in the electoral process. Ultimately, many of these variations from the general goals come to the attention of the electorate, which ultimately elects those most consistent in promoting the common goals and with the lowest management costs. We will describe some of these deviations in more detail below.

Expensive party mechanisms, with their overstaffing and substantial administrative and promotional costs, absorb a significant portion of government spending. Of course, the direct funding of parties from the state was introduced in order to counteract their indirect funding by groups of powerful economic factors who were seeking to promote their own interests by integrating their goals into the general objectives promoted by the government of the day. The extent to which this has been achieved is always a matter to be proven and can only be determined after a detailed examination by citizens of the relevant legislation and its implementation in practice, which is no easy task.

Guilds, in the broad sense of the term, have a strong influence on government decisions, particularly in critical areas linked to everyday life and smooth social living. The privatisation of a large part of the state monopolies has reduced the influence of guilds through mobilisations for strike action, since their interests can no longer be promoted through the state budget and to a certain extent are in conflict with the interests of the new owners of these enterprises. However, the union influences, which ultimately lead to increased costs in the course of the implementation of common goals by governments, have taken another form. They are promoted, to a considerable extent, through informal arrangements between like-minded public and private sector professionals involved in the implementation of policy decisions. It is noteworthy that the present government has chosen ministers in many critical ministries from different professions and backgrounds from the main cadre of the sector. This generally mitigates guild-like choices in the management of state finances, but only at the level of central planning and legislation. A long-term and conscious effort is required to achieve positive management results, generalised down to the last state level, through the elimination of this kind of guild logic.

In particular, the public works sector is one of the most critical areas for the development of the above-mentioned logics, due to the high level of funding for public investment and its complex ramifications. A significant attempt to address side effects in this sector was made in the late 1990s, when major roads were designed and put out to tender. At that time, the political leadership (Souflias, Xanthopoulos) attempted to limit the large number of contracting companies by setting high financial and technological requirements in order for the bidding companies to be recognised and to be able to participate in tenders for large-budget project auctions. Reactions at many levels and from many directions have relativised the initial intentions. However, something important was achieved at the time: the implementation of major projects was linked to their long-term maintenance. Combined with bank financing for the construction companies, the good and safe execution of the projects was ensured through the possibility of control by the technical services of the banks, which were a third party between the contractors and the state, since banking interests forced a squeeze on the cost of long-term maintenance of the projects. From the above we can conclude that the way to eliminate the union influences in the public works sector is through the establishment and implementation of a legislative framework with competitive characteristics that can be applied in practice.

The catalyst for all of the above is the human factor and, in particular, the formation of the personality of citizens through the education system. The frequent lessons on the ancient Greeks should not be only of a verbal and pendantic nature, but they should also be focusing on the model of citizenship that our ancestors attempted to shape. The aim of education in ancient Athens was the formation of the ‘good citizen’. This ideal citizen gathered all the characteristics of Virtue, which according to Plato were wisdom, bravery, prudence, justice and piety, but also many other mental and physical virtues. The formation of the good citizen is also the only way to combat the rationales that lead to guild-like partnerships with weaken public finances.

In our region, Mani, these rationales have a small economic footprint, but because of the sparse population of the area they are very easy to see. Since the beginning of publication of our newspaper MANIOT SOLIDARITY we have been trying to discretely identify them and to contribute towards a solution…

                                                                                                ΤΗΕ ΕDITORIAL BOARD


The mapping of the human genome that has been completed in recent decades has fostered many subsequent research projects, including comparisons of individual genomes with others or with genomic patterns of tribes from modern or earlier times derived from examination of human cells. These exciting advancements in the science of biology have the potential to help shape more elements of our self-awareness. Since our genetic origins determine the majority of our actions over the course of our life, knowledge of our individual genome can provide explanations for most of our characteristics, from our physical makeup to our mental impulses. A necessary condition for reliable diagnoses, however, is the comparison of the individual gene profile with confirmed racial archetypes. The results of these comparisons, those obtained after assured scientific validation of all phases of the research and comparison process, can help explain many of the inner impulses in our adult life.

The most difficult phase in the evolution of the process described above is the selection of the standards against which each individual genome is compared. In our region, Mani, whose population composition has been little modified during the four centuries of Ottoman rule and to a small extent during the first century and a half of the modern Greek state, it is possible to draw largely safe conclusions about our individual genetic constitution after comparison with genomes of our ancestors from those centuries, as derived from scientific research of the remains of bodily material and used as standards for comparisons. In this way, it will be possible to identify the Maniot idiosyncracy which, in the current period, some people consider honourable and others renounce, despite the existence of clear evidence of their Maniot origin.

If we also wish to know whether and to what extent our genome is linked to the important migrations and settlements in Mani during the ten centuries (5th-15th) or how it is linked to the relocations of groups by the Crusaders of Western Europe in the 13th century, we can proceed by comparing our genome with the gene patterns of these tribes.

The self-awareness that emerges from these findings can provide a further impetus for joint action in the name of recently verified common biological origins. This self-knowledge will strengthen the common way of thinking of a large part of our compatriots which was formed as a result of the struggles of our ancestors for the preservation of the freedom and autonomy of the region during the many centuries of Ottoman rule.

It was mentioned earlier that there is also a significant portion of individuals who, although their personal data proves their Maniot ancestry, they deny it for various reasons. These deniers are the descendants of two different groups of Maniots who left our area for two reasons:

a) after the 1821 revolution, Ottomans got expelled and some Maniot warriors settled permanently the areas that they used to occupy. In these areas they earned income from estates that were much more prosperous than those they previously had in Mani. However, since the legalisation of their relocation was difficult and arbitrary, they had good reasons for concealing their origin. This tendency was passed on to the generations that followed until today.

b) after deadly family conflicts, in order to avoid reprisals, some Maniots left their ancestral homes and moved to areas, either remote rural or populous urban areas, where it was difficult to track them down. Strong evidence of the Maniot origin of the first group is the preservation in many cases of the surnames ending in -έας and -άκος (established mainly during the years of the revolutionary period 1821-1827) and of the second group the preservation of the surname “Mανιάτης” established after relocation to their new residences. However, as many decades have passed since their relocation, the original causes of ancestry concealment no longer exist, and the recognition of their ancestry could contribute to the strengthening of the population potential of Maniot origin, helping to promote the development goals of our region, which is also their ancestral land.

The above-mentioned procedures for checking individual genomes could lead to the verification of origin, but also to the interpretation of many of the specific characteristics of non-identified origin. Comparing the similarities of individual traits with important Maniot characteristics that have been generally recognised on the basis of historical patterns, such as the appeal to free action and individual autonomy, might also lead to the formation of Maniot consciousness.