The paper attempts to assess the impact of reforms of the last 25 years on Greek administration and more specifically on its Napoleonic features. Given that those have been reshaped by country specific socio‐political dynamics, the analysis starts by pointing out the Napoleonic features but also specific features its Greek variant. These form the context of reforms undertaken and determine their trajectories as well as their limitations.
This paper examines four basic reform areas linked to important features of Napoleonic states: centrality of the state, centralised bureaucratic structures, labour relations in the public sector, and citizens‐administration relations. The rationale of reforms is discussed in relation to NPM trends but also to domestic challenges and priorities.
The significance of reforms undertaken varies. The state's presence in the economy has been significantly reduced and decentralisation reforms are more important politically than administratively. Citizens' rights and service delivery have been conceived rather as forms of democratisation and modernisation than as managerial reforms. Only recently labour relations in the public sector have been partly challenged while other reform aspects such as “agencification”, systematically by‐passing existing bureaucratic structures start to be part of the picture. Change has been incremental and followed pre‐established paths. The “Napoleonic” features of the state have not been seriously affected and reforms have hardly been reshaped by the new managerial paradigm. While the state remains the main reform actor and the law a typical policy instrument, a distinctive reform path emerges in Greece, as defined by the apparently contradictory rationale of a number of initiatives responding to old as much to new challenges.
Provides a brief account of important aspects of the Greek variant of the Napoleonic state and the context of recent reforms. Features and limits of reforms are also discussed. Finally, a tentative assessment answers the central question of the paper.
Spanou, C. (2008), "State reform in Greece: responding to old and new challenges", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 150-173. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550810855645Download as .RIS
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