Addressing local authority officials of Western Greece on Sunday, Prime Minister George Papandreou once again stressed the need to radically reform the country's ailing public administration, which he said was a key cause of Greece's problems.
"We are obliged by events to move at two speeds, keeping the best of what there was and at the same time rejecting anything extraneous and changing the rest," he said in Kalavryta. He noted that the failures of public administration - such as lack of transparency, clientelist relations and bureaucracy - were one of the causes of the problems and unless they were removed the country would once again be faced with a debt and deficit crisis.
Papandreou also stressed the need to actually implement laws and not just pass them, so that the citizens' faith in institutions might be restored.
On the issue of taxation, the prime minister said that the margins for "experimentation" or major changes were limited, noting that at present the government was forced to increase taxes and reduce spending.
Regarding state-owned enterprises, Papandreou said a question was now arising about whether these were really necessary and he pointed out that, 20 years ago when they were set up, they had been envisaged as profit-making. Enlisting the aid of a foreign company to help organise them was something that the people now demanded, he added.
Commenting on the issues and problems raised by local authority officials, Papandreou said that the discussion with them had been constructive and that most of the issues raised were best dealt with at a local level, especially issues such as poverty.
During the meeting with local officials, Infrastructure and Networks Minister Dimitris Reppas announced that the Patras Port will be made part of a trans-European network and outlined the problems faced with the construction of the Ionian and Olympian highways.