Thursday, 3 October 2013


  1. Gallup delivers a very poor piece of polling for Debating Europe to 'prove' that austerity doesn't work. I'm not one to rubbish survey data as you know but I note a number of weakenesses.  a) the survey never bothers to define austerity, and adds to the confusion by portraying it as an EU-wide policy b) 23% of those who believe that 'only some countries' benefit from austerity cite Greece as one of its beneficiaries, c) the Eurozone country with the highest level of support for austerity is austerity-hit Ireland, and d) the survey doesn't bother to ask what policies might have served Europe better.
  2. How conspiracy theorising correlates with rejection of science.
  3. China's 50 wealthiest politicians are far, far wealthier than their American counterparts.
  4. Greek procurement transparency portal Diavgeia weakened by poor legal phrasing- but the damage is repaired and seems to have been a case of cock-up rather than conspiracy. See comments below for clarifications.
  5. The latest edition of the Global Financial Centres Index is now out. Athens singled out as a case study of reputational fallout.
  6. The WEF Human Capital report for 2013 is now out. Watch out for the Greek section.
  7. The IMF's Global Financial Stability Report is out.
  8. People chuckling at Eurostat statistics on poverty need to note just how robust the methodology is.
  9. European Commission consults on the need for European regulation on crowdfunding.
  10. Skilled migration - a review of the economic literature


  1. Since this is written in English, I might as well respond in English. My comment regards item 2 (the Greek portal Diavgeia). The article you link to (which is in Greek and is from the Greek newspaper's To Vima website) has been written by someone who, clearly, does not understand basic legal concepts or, to put it more generally, does not know what he is talking about and, consequently, misrepresents the situation. I don't know whether the proposed amendment is a good idea and I would be willing to listen to arguments to the effect that it is not but, in any case, the amendment does not have the effect this piece attributes to it: It is NOT the case that publication on the Internet becomes optional. The original provision stated that an act could not be executed UNTIL it had been published on the Internet. This sounds like a good idea but might also lead to a bureaucratic nightmare since, perhaps years afterwards, you will have to prove that an act had been published on the Internet in order to assert that its execution, at a given point time, was lawful. The amendment makes this provision say "an act is not executed until publication on the Internet, unless specific provisions to the contrary exist [this is actually superfluous or, at best, a clarification, since if such provisions exist they would apply anyway] or the authority issuing the act decides otherwise [i.e. decides that the act is to be executed even before publication on the Internet]". The latter bit might be wholly justified (some acts do need to be executed immediately, without waiting for publication and the delay that it implies) but, admittedly, might give rise to abuses if the authority in question conveniently "forgets" to proceed with publication afterwards.

    1. First, another take on the issue by an actual lawyer: http://elawyer.blogspot.gr/2013/10/blog-post_3.html

      As someone who needs to post decisions to Diavgeia on behalf of an University Department, I can reassure you that from a bureocratic perspective its impact on execution time is negligible - It takes less than 5 minutes to publish something. Further, it does help with the case you mentioned, in the sense that it's almost trivial to retrieve the publication date for a published law, especially if the publication number (ΑΔΑ) is present on the text.

      What might be an issue is that the existing law could be interpreted in a way that forces acts to be valid from the point of publications, even if they specifically mention that they will apply from a moment in the future onwards - or that they apply retroactively from a moment in the past onwards (which AFAIK is illegal anyways). In any case, that section needs to be clarified.

    2. Thanks @abas and Anon - I think it's a case of cock-up rather than conspiracy. I have amended above but don't apologise for jumping the gun - especially if over-reactions such as mine (and more importantly the journo's) have forced the Ministry to improve the phrasing in question.


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