Austerity politics and administrative reform: The Eurozone crisis and its impact upon Greek public administration
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Greece was the first European Monetary Union (EMU) country to sign a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) with the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB) in order to secure financial assistance and prevent a total collapse of its economy following the severe international economic crisis. The MEFP (2010) and the more detailed Memorandum of Understanding on Specific Economic Policy Conditionality (SEPC) (2010) offered elaborate steps of structural reforms that have affected all public services in Greece. The lack of major results and the stickiness of the ‘Greek problem’ have made Greece a unique case study for evaluating both the recipe of the international lenders and the domestic capacity for reform. A historical institutionalist approach and the concept of ‘policy paradigm’ are combined here in order to evaluate what the conditions for a major administrative reform in time of crisis are. The article focuses on the specific attempt to reform public administration during the Papandreou government in order to analyse the importance of both time and type of change in the success of a major reform programme.