We are a few weeks after the unspeakable tragedy in Tempe, and after the initial shock and justified outrage, the time has come when we must discuss the actual events. The commitment of Prime Minister Mitsotakis, “to shed ample light on what happened and how we got here”, is clear and comes as a continuation of the assumption of responsibility according to what the ethos of the New Democracy party commands. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, from the first moment of the tragedy, made it quite clear that, unlike his predecessors, he would not be afraid of any political cost, by arriving immediately at the accident scene and clearly apologizing. At the same time, he ordered immediate measures to be taken, both to investigate the sad incident and assign responsibility to those responsible, as well as to provide practical support to the families of the victims.
At the same time, however, the essential respect for the innocent victims also requires other actions. We must all analyze the painful events, not only with emotion, but with calmness and, above all, with an eye on the future. We must take all actions, politicians and citizens alike, to rule out any possibility of experiencing anything even remotely similar to what happened on that tragic night of February 28.
Greek society is demanding and the Greek government, as it has always done in the last four years in power, remains in tune with its messages. Our fellow citizens urgently demand change and correction of the wrongdoings in the operation of the railways. At the same time, however, they also demand something else. Something more generic and more brave! And let me say that this is even more important as it carries with it and will come to eliminate a mindset of decades. It is about the demand to take measures for the drastic change in the mentality of the public sector, including the politicians. It is this change that must be made, and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and with him all of us, are determined. In this context, after the tragedy of Tempe, we have to face fundamental problems.
First, the chronic lack of meritocracy in the Greek public sector, which, speaking without evasion, translates into party democracy. I believe that the time has come for the definitive suppression of this logic as well as of clientelism and for this reason, I recommend the establishment of a specialized institutional body. This body will be tasked with selecting the highest administrative officers of the administrations of organizations in the wider public sector, based on specific criteria and conditions.
Second, the prevailing culture of underestimating security issues. This requires the ostracism of every aspect of this situation by the state apparatus.
Thirdly, the established and generalized notion that "the state has more rights than the citizens".
With the aim of leaving behind all the above, it is a necessity to evaluate all administrations based on strategic plans and objectives both on an annual basis and more generally every three years. The implementation of the evaluation system should be part of the strategic plans from the start. Each employee should know how they are evaluated by management, which in turn will be evaluated. Just as the citizens have obligations and rights towards the state, so the state also has towards the citizens. The example of the USA is typical, where, for example, the citizen has the right to request compensation from the state, in case of misleading advertising, or false information on a label. Control is pervasive and reaches every aspect of everyday life, ultimately creating conditions of absolute compliance.
And all this may be only a part of what needs to be done, but it is our commitment that nothing will be left without entering a path of safety and substantial conversion. The tragic accident brought to the surface the chronic problems which we must eliminate. And allow me, a New Democracy government, with Kyriakos Mitsotakis as Prime Minister, is the one that can accomplish this difficult task.