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If politicians were willing to cope with bribes, they would do it in a day

12 March 2012 / 18:03:14  GRReporter
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- The system of local government was reformed with the Kalikratis law. Does it help you deal with the crisis?
- Yes, this law brought many municipalities together and from 1,130 their number has reached 320. At the same time, many responsibilities were transferred to municipalities, i.e. to the primary local governments and regional governments were abolished. As I said, many responsibilities were transferred to us but not the relevant funds. As a result, the activities carried out by municipalities multiplied and the funds allocated were reduced rather than increased. For example, the subsidy we receive from the state dropped by over 40% compared to last year, while the revenues from municipal taxes and fees paid by the residents of the municipality have decreased because the people cannot pay the amounts. Therefore, it is certain that local governments, which are very close to the problems of citizens, create conditions for social care, kindergartens, soup kitchens, social supermarkets and pharmacies, which provide for the homeless and the poor fellow citizens what they need the most. In several municipalities already, and in our city, we are building shelters to protect people who have become homeless in these difficult times. Therefore, as I have already mentioned, local governments are facing many problems because the things they have to do have significantly increased while the funds available have drastically dropped. We do not provide money for infrastructure projects we should implement, nor does the state. They are funded through the National Strategic Reference Framework of European programmes, but pass through the state and wallow in bureaucracy again.

- You have won the election in Maroussi in the first round and with 57%, a percentage for which any politician would envy you. I personally do not think you will stay in Maroussi long. Is politics in your plans?

- You see, I do not like to leave anything undone. I want to build strong foundations for the area in which I am now and which gave me its support. Although I am not from Maroussi, I came here in 2000 as a doctor and I love this particular area. Of course, if I am called and can be helpful for our country in these difficult days in another position or post, I will take it. I have learnt from the work at the City Hall that anything can be achieved with patience and perseverance and with calmness too. One should not run away in hard times and return when it is easy. The country, society, the people want you to solve the problems in difficult times. And here, when I took up office, things were very difficult. The municipality was very indebted, but we did research, drew a plan, made an organization and most importantly, tried not to spend more than what we produce. So, we as a nation must learn to spend less than what we produce. Then a nation is great, and then a nation makes great things and is able to gain the place it deserves in Europe and the world. That is what I think any politician should make. Not just sit in a chair and get some stripes. I do believe that the posts do not make the individuals but the individuals make the posts. And we all should realize that it is not important where you are but what matters is that you do your job well every time you take responsibility for something.

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Tags: George PatoulisMaroussi municipalityMedical AssociationBribesCorruptionReformsElections
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