By Aris Ravanos
There are adequate excuses for all that has occurred over the last hours in Attica due to the snowstorm.
Entire neighbourhoods went without electricity and water for many hours in Attica, which is home for about half of the population of Greece, and not in any remote region.
Is it possible in 2021 to be discussing problems in the provision of electricity and water due to a snowstorm, however harsh it may be? For a number of areas around the country such situations are par for the course.
Yet when it happens in Attica all the klieg lights of publicity focus on the problem.
We all saw how the smaller and more efficient state that has been touted by this government since it came to power as a key objective failed to make the grade.
Is it the first time this has happened? No. But the situation that arose over the last hours demonstrates that much work is needed for Greece to become a serious, contemporary, effective and efficient state – not in word or on paper but rather in deed.
Even the cutting of the hundreds of trees that fell and should have been cut months ago became entangled in bureaucracy.
Who or what is to blame? Is it municipalities, the prefecture of Attica (which gets low marks for crisis management), the Hellenic Electricity Distribution Network Operator, or the government?
There are responsibilities that will be attributed once the bad weather ends.
However, a major public discussion should begin on what streamlining the state really means and how it can fully and not just partially manage various challenges.
What sort of streamlined, contemporary state is it that can be thrown out of kilter by a bout of bad weather and cannot fully meet the demands of the times?
A period of major challenges on many levels requires a different sort of planning and a new strategy to strengthen and not weaken state services.
The pandemic has highlighted the need to bolster the National Health System.
The importance of the state’s policies on these matters has come to the forefront as has the need to restructure outdated services and state mechanisms based on contemporary models.
This must happen immediately if the streamlined state is to avoid being besieged by another power outage!