Many thanks to Kevin Featherstone and Dimitris Papadimitriou, authors of shortlisted book Prime Ministers in Greece: the Paradox of Power, who kindly agreed to this interview.
It was difficult not to get carried away with all the questions I wanted to ask them. In fact, some of my questions were impossible to answer in just one paragraph, and would have required… a whole book!
You were both involved in an ad hoc advisory committee to George Papandreou some years ago. Can you tell us more about it? What impact did the advisory committee have? Were any changes made as a result?
We interviewed George Papandreou, before he became PM, about his father, Andreas. It was a good and wide-ranging discussion. Kevin had written in ‘Kathimerini’ about the contrast between the formal powers of the Greek PM and the practical reality of a constrained and under-resourced position. Later, after George’s election victory he invited Kevin to join an ad hoc advisory committee on how to ‘modernise’ the government structure and operation. The Committee was to be composed of foreigners; Dimitris made his own bilateral input. George announced in 2010 that he would be adopting the Committee’s Report and he started to implement some of its action-points. But, of course, wider political events took over and George resigned as PM. Yet, the impact continued: the governments that followed took action to reform the government at the centre and the Troika itself pressed this same agenda. So, a focus had been defined and an agenda set.