Standing with Attica for the Future of Greece


Nowadays a historic effort is underway to build a new Greece.

The case of Greece is worth standing for: due to its geopolitical burden in troubled times but also due to the fact that Greece belongs to the same community of countries sharing the values of democracy, liberty, social justice.

Greece nowadays is going through the most important economic crisis of its modern history. It is not the only one. Debt crises are unfortunately the norm across Europe and in cities and states across the United States. Nowadays, the economies of China and other emerging markets seem riskier than ever.

Greece is first in line during these days to deal with all issues created by the crisis, and the stakes are particularly high in this case.

The case of Greece will become influential in terms of how Europe may and should reform itself -- both institutionally and politically. Unfortunately, the euro crisis revealed the structural problems of the Eurozone as well as the lack of solidarity among its member states. Today, although the austerity policies in EU are still the main framework for the economic policy, the need for a new perspective for EMU is heard and should be fulfilled. A perspective based on a new long-term strategy and a political vision of the EMU, through intelligent reforms for a new European fiscal policy, should be implemented in order to prevent the ideal of the European integration from stalling.

So, the Greek crisis could help the EU and the EMU to proceed to the structural, necessary smart reforms leading to further integration and growth, becoming a reliable partner of the US. That is why the US is highly concerned by Greece's fight to overcome the current crisis.

An important role during this fight is actually played by the regional authorities in Greece and especially by Attica as the largest regional authority. Attica is already playing a significant leading role, contributing in developing reforms that can serve as an example throughout Greece.

When we walked into the prefecture of Attica, almost a year ago, I found an administrative system based on the very model that used the public sector for promoting partisanship goals -- the same that led the country to the current crisis: red tape, corruption, and a lack of transparency. A system working against the interest of the civil servants.

Nowadays we are tackling all these issues, establishing an effective government and implementing a modern model of administration based on the rule of law and public accountability.

We introduced a zero tolerance policy towards corruption, we clarified in a definitive way, for the first time, the tasks and the powers of the region and we standardized them for all the eight regional units, cutting down the red tape. We established full transparency by the creation of two specialized links in the region site, where the decisions of the Regional Council and the Economic Committee are accessible to all citizens. We organized general elections by cutting down the cost in a significant.

Nevertheless, ending corruption and bad administration is not enough to lead the country to prosperity.

A new economic development model is needed in order to fully exploit and unleash the massive productive and creative forces of Attica's land. So, the Attica Region Authority, in order to create the most proper environment for prosperity through growth and employment, has chosen to create a new tool: a new regional Development Corporation. A modern, market oriented, flexible structure, with the aim to establish the proper business environment in order to host the needed investments.

Thus Attica Regional Authority will proceed acting not only as a pillar of stability in Greece, but also as a laboratory of democracy, an engine of ingenuity and a reliable facilitator for all true partners of Greece.

________________ This is a summary of the remarks Governor Dourou was due to deliver at the Stand with Greece first summit, organized by the Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues with the assistance of the Hellenic American Leadership Council (HALC), October, 1, in Washington. Due to an unexpected family issue, Rena Dourou wasn't able to attend the conference.

This post first appeared on HuffPost Greece.