Three months are not enough to allow for judgments to be made regarding the performance of a newly appointed government, but it is a long enough period for the first conclusions to be drawn, and the refugee-migrant issue constitutes a case study for the functioning of the government.
The current government, in collaboration with the colossal outcoursing communication structure provided by the biased media since the days it was serving as the main opposition, strongly declared that they were not like the previous “obsessed, the most failed and dangerous government since the “Metapolitefsi” era”, but rather they have a “I know what I want and how to get it” plan .
Statements like these are rather easy to make, as everybody knows that no matter the outcome this is still its grace period. However, there are some issues that do not have the luxury of time. For three months now the government has been watching migrant flows – as they themselves referred to them – grow and the islands flooding. In Moria, the refugee numbers from 5,600 have now surged to almost 13,000, while in September about 10,500 crossed the maritime border, setting a three-year record.
So far, the government has introduced KYSEA (Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence) and a ministry cabinet just to show proof of mobility, though this was not helpful. Its whole plan is to tighten the procedures around applications for residence and asylum, that is, to make the lives of the vulnerable population arriving in Greece even harder, so that the message is sent to the countries of origin and for the trip to not be attempted in the first place. Yet this takes time, and by then the government runs the risk of being left with around 100 thousand “immigrants” trapped in Greece, with no clue about what to do with them.
Its response to the issue might have been a complete and utter failure, but on a communication management level it is doing pretty well. Makis Voridis states that “anyone who enters the country illegally is not entitled to humanitarian treatment”, while other executives and friendly media dig up 5-year old statements by Tasia Christodoulopoulou. Olga Kefalogianni, who is trying to find a place in the next government after being left out, claims that the SYRIZA government’s share of responsibility when it comes to the migration issue is huge, even though the flows had already stopped three years ago, up until July when the current government took on. While it is obvious Erdogan is playing by his own rules, yet the blame falls on SYRIZA according the government. They are trying to reach out at the hardcore-right, almost far-right audience, the one that seeks for inhumane treatment against the vulnerable and for attacks against the left. It is the same people.
The first evidence of government unpreparedness and incompetency was noticeable even earlier, when Samothraki was cut off just one week before August 15, without even one ship available. The two ships of the businessman Manoussis, an old friend of the blues, broke down simultaneously and the government just stood there counting down the days. If is showed any signs of aptitude, that was in making sure the media would cover up the issue.
They did not do any better when Thomas Cook collapsed either. The reports from the executives which attended the famous inter-ministerial meeting were a burlesque. The executives gathered up without having prepared anything at all, and they simply sat there staring at each other, wondering if anyone knew how to handle the issue. Once again, though, the friendly media helped them out.
Moving on to more serious subjects, it turned out that the absence of any mentions regarding foreign policy issues from the government’s program statements, alongside Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ appearance at TIF was ultimately a result of no foreign policy framework in the works existing in the first place. On the subject of the Greek-Turkish relations, the toned-down policy allowed Turkey to become –indeed- even more provocative, to block via Navtex the heart of the Aegean for almost a whole month for the first time ever, while the Turkish drones are flying over the Greek warships. After three months, Kyriakos Mitsotakis pressed the restart button through “personal meetings with Erdogan, in which he has faith “. He obviously thinks he will achieve on a personal level with Erdogan what Kostas Karamanlis, George Papandreou, Antonis Samaras and Alexis Tsipras failed to do. Maybe he is trading with him.
Overall, the problems created by the executive state gradually emerge. A parallel governance structure consisting of the Maximos Mansion guardians, which operates next to the mechanism of the 51 ministers and deputy ministers – of whom 22 are non-parliamentary – causes malfunctions and frictions. Ultimately it is the broader network of Maximos Mansion that holds the keys, with the many communication consultants who are now starting to get in each other’s face. /ibna