"Greece is collapsing, even with Papademos"

In an exclusive interview to "THEMA", health minister Andreas Loverdos reveals his cards on the most critical juncture of Papademos’ government, some 24 hours before George Papandreou launches the procedures for his replacement in PASOK. 

He says he agrees with Antonis Samaras about the duration of Papademos’ government, saying the country should be led to elections at the latest by March 2012. He identifies the Papandreou administration as "a chatter of innovations" that failed to address the major problems of the country. Regarding the upcoming internal party battle for leadership, he speaks of Evangelos Venizelos as one of his friends and seeks to secure a framework of principles that will ensure the future unity of the party and restore the deficiencies of intraparty democracy.

- It is obvious that the government of Papademos is facing serious internal problems as there is often a lack of camaraderie between ministers, and participating parties seem to support it almost out of necessity. How can we overcome this?

Papademos’ government will have to implement the decision of October 26 in a short time and pave the way for the next government on the issues of so-called economic governance; that is, the meeting of state and the economy, primarily in the areas of tourism, energy, agriculture, food, commerce and the promotion of ESPA. There is no time.

- By that you mean that it is not performing well?

I mean we must immediately remove all bureaucratic bars in the areas I just mentioned. The country is collapsing. If there is no growth, 2012 is the last year that we can pull money from the structural changes to preserve the structures of the welfare state. If there is no money from growth, 2013 will mean the closure of basic infrastructures in health, education, local government etc. In that sense, yes, we are already delayed. Who does not know that this government is an emergency one? And that’s how it should operate.

- Many believe that Papademos should have requested a smaller and more flexible structure from the start, so that the government could be more compact and efficient. Do you find it reasonable that a government - supposedly of national salvation - has 49 members?

In Greece, a country with no political heads, management does not work. Talking about a small and flexible cabinet is unfortunate. In Italy, with its 12 ministers, the administration is almost good and the state is divided into regions and therefore there are no obstacles against governance. During the '70s and '80s, when Italy was plagued by governmental instability, public and regional government kept the country together. In Greece, however, there is a need for more ministers and deputy ministers. Or at least we shouldn’t blame the number of government members for lack of productivity.

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