Friday, June 15, 2012

Outsiders desperately needed

June 15, 2012

Greek citizens can at least be reassured that the debts the state racked up before the crisis were not spent on the offices of the ministry of development, competitiveness and shipping, overlooking Syntagma Square. The building is run down, the wallpaper is peeling.

If the ministry is shabby, the minister is not. Yannis Stournaras (pictured) has only been in the job since the May election, and he may well be out of it after this weekend, but he is determined to use his time in office to push through as many measures as he can. On the day we speak, he has approved a wind-energy investment on Crete. Angry emails from environmentalists (they must be a different sort in Crete if they object to wind) are coming in; Syriza, a populist left-wing party, has condemned him for taking decisions in the period before the election; journalists ring incessantly for comment.

Mr Stournaras, a beaming, bouncy technocrat with a background in academia, policymaking and business, is unrepentant. "Just wait till people see how much we have done in this time," he says. His decisions are constitutionally watertight, he says, and encouraging investment is exactly what he should be doing.


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