ABSTRACT - Why do Greek governments fail? The question, of course, is somewhat unfair: governments in Athens have achieved great national projects in key historical periods. But, governance in Greece suffers from seemingly endemic organizational problems - of contrasts between rigid rules, yet weak control and coordination; of clientelism, but poor commitment; of generous staffing, but low-skills and resources.
Every student of the Greek Constitution learns of the near-unrestrained powers of the Prime Minister. And, if effective management of the government is to occur, then it must stem from the Prime Minister. But here I will argue that successive prime ministers have been 'Emperors without clothes'. The internal dysfunctionalities of government emanate from this weakness at the core.
As a result, expectations for governments to deliver have been thwarted from major weaknesses of capability, quite aside from any doubts of political will. The constraints are those of a cultural mind-set as to the ways of conducting politics.
The recent debt crisis now exposes these weaknesses and prompts a new debate on establishing more effective governance. This is likely to be crucial for Greece's role in Europe.
Professor Kevin Featherstone has been at the LSE since 1st May 2002, when took up the position of Eleftherios Venizelos Professor of Contemporary Greek Studies and Director of the Hellenic Observatory in the European Institute.
He was previously Professor of European Politics (1995-2002) and Jean Monnet Chair in European Integration Studies (1994-2002) at the University of Bradford; also; Visiting Professor in Politics, New York University (1990-91) and Visiting Professor in International Relations, University of Minnesota (1983). He served as Director/Head of the LSE's European Institute from 2004-07.
His research has focused on the politics of the European Union and the politics of contemporary Greece; his work has been framed in the perspectives of comparative politics, public policy, political economy and processes of 'Europeanization'.