The Impact of Local Government Reforms in Greece:A Critical Overview

Academic Public Administration Studies

The Impact of Local Government Reforms in Greece:A Critical Overview

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Title: The Impact of Local Government Reforms in Greece:A Critical Overview
Author: Hlepas, Nicolaos-Komninos
Abstract: By the beginning of the 1980s, an overwhelming majority believed that public administration would become friendlier to the average citizen if a great number of responsibilities would be delegated to the municipalities. Socialist governments (1981-1989) undertook several decentralization reforms, but were hesitated in promoting obligatory amalgamations, although demographic changes and urban pull caused an ongoing depopulation of rural areas, while small municipalities were even unable to fulfill residual tasks. The need for efficiency was the main argument for the “Capodistrias Plan” of amalgamations (1997) that intended to re-structure the first tier and create new, stronger municipalities that would be able to cope with new tasks, promote local development, and offer “modern social services” to their citizens, especially in rural areas. By 2007, former opponents of the reform, namely the conservative leaders, initiated a debate on a second wave of amalgamations, thus implicitly acknowledging the success of territorial reform or at least the positive dynamics of a transformation that had to be completed. A main assumption of this paper is that the organization of sub-national levels of government and governance is the outcome of a political process where the politics of territorial choice are influenced by societal arrangements and dynamics with the balance between different interests being intermediated through political processes. Territorial re-scaling, moreover, is exposed to pressures coming from supranational (European and global) as well as national levels, the outcome being an open game depending on the main features of the socio-economic and political systems in each country.
Date: 2010-02-05

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