Permanent Challenges? Representing Greece in Brussels

Calliope Spanou

in The National Co-ordination of EU Policy

Published in print November 2001 | ISBN: 9780199248056
Published online November 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601545 | DOI:
 Permanent Challenges? Representing Greece in Brussels

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This account of the Greek permanent representation at Brussels starts by describing the Greek administrative system as characterized by sectorization and fragmentation, low co-ordination, centralization and hierarchical structure, importance of informal networks and personal strategies, and weak institutionalization of horizontal and staff functions. Deficient steering at the top and lack of clearly set priorities are deeper reasons for co-ordination deficiencies at the national and sectoral level. In that sense, the co-ordination scheme for Greek EU policy can be seen as a ‘truncated pyramid’, even though, more recently, major national priorities represent an exception to the rule. This chapter argues that the EU environment and its functional imperatives put pressure on the Greek permanent representation to compensate for defensive attitudes and domestic administrative weaknesses, while at the same time being affected by them. It discusses the organization of the Greek permanent representation, and its tasks and functions (including communication with the centre, internal functioning and working methods, transmission of national positions and instructions, presentation and negotiation of national positions, and networking), and finally gives a brief assessment of the situation.

Keywords: Brussels; communication; EU policy; European Union; functions; Greece; Greek administrative system; Greek permanent representation; internal functioning; national policy; negotiation; networking; organization; policy co-ordination; tasks; working methods

Chapter.  9020 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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