Government officials have announced some very good news: increased growth rates for the Greek economy during the year 2021 and the following years, something which is also being confirmed by statistics. There is more good news about the estimates for the optimal utilisation of the financial resources that have been allocated to Greece by two European Union programs: a) by the Community Development and Stability Pact (funding projects and their implementation over the next three years) and b) by the Community Support Framework (funding projects and their implementation over the next seven years). Now that these positive prospects have been announced, the questions are a) how close to the original plans will the actual implementation of these projects be, and b) to what extent will the results of the expected growth of the Greek economy be fairly distributed in society? Transparency will be a very important criterion for the fair evaluation of the expected positive results. Transparent data should be available in all phases of implementation of the projects that will be funded by the above European Community programs; this data should be presented in a simple, popularised language, and in a form accessible and easily understood by the average citizen. Let us not forget that the recent financial packages allocated to our country by the EU are unprecedentedly large.
As a starting point, we must mention here that the financial management of the pandemic, i.e., the replacement by government aid of the income losses caused to the citizens by the imposed COVID restrictions, was positive. This fact has contributed significantly to the increased growth rates of the economy for 2021 and 2022. The observation that these relief packages also benefited to some extent people who were not entitled to them does not invalidate what we just said at the beginning of this paragraph, but encourages us to work towards better digitisation of recording procedures, fairer distribution of benefits, as well as better management of similar situations in the future.
From the data disclosed so far, it appears that the Greek citizens need more detailed information regarding the choice of the projects that so far have been included in the above European Community programs, i.e., information with simplified technical terminology that will be easily understood by the average citizen. It is important that the information given to the public justifies the choice of specific public works for each category as well as the individual projects for each one of them, the strict conditions set by the invitation to tender regarding completion within the specified time frames and most important, why are they necessary and what are the social benefits that will be created with the completion of these projects. If the disclosure of all this data is transparent, it will lead to the citizens responding positively to the government development plans and will not give rise to opposition criticism.
The road from the initial design to the final implementation of any public work (even small development projects) is long. This fact justifies, to some extent, small deviations and additions to the original design. However, what has been observed in many cases in the past can be characterised as a complete reversal of the initial project plans. We have witnessed a complete reversal occurring in several cases, such as when the original budget turns out to be insufficient and needs to be doubled or when a project, completely funded until completion by a Community Support Framework, is left incomplete and requires as much funding from the next Community Support Framework. Phenomena of this kind that have been often recorded in the past, in addition to wasting scarce financial resources, also produce social parasitism, satisfy micropolitical interests and generally express phenomena of social decline.
If the whole path, from design to full completion of the projects, is shielded with efficient procedures, institutional rules and competent people who possess effective administration and good management skills, it is certain that the foundations will have been laid for the reliable integration of our country in the advanced states of the European family. Then, we might be able to rationalise and deal with the huge public debt that our leaders’ micropolitical and selfish political choices have created. If we do all this, then we can hope to be forgiven by our children and grandchildren, who will be subject to increased tax charges for its repayment, for several more decades.
Let us hope that our homeland Mani will also benefit from these large financial packages, although no reliable studies have been prepared for infrastructure projects that our region so desperately needs, now that the dynamic tourism development has stimulated the creation of quality investments in the private sector. It is never too late for all of us to mobilise in this direction, with the help of our compatriots who are active in large urban centers, and especially those in political offices.
THE EDITORIAL BOARD