Greece is back in the news with reports that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is preparing a major government restructuring:
According to the Council of State decision, four new ministries will be established, while six others will be restructured and renamed:
A Ministry of Migration Policy is formed, in which the authorities of the general secretariats of Migration Policy and (migrant) Reception will be transferred. The two secretariats belonged to the Ministry of the Interior until now.
Another new ministry is the Ministry of Digital Policy, that replaces the General Secretariat of Digital Policy and will be staffed by its existing personnel.
The Ministry of Tourism will now be an autonomous body. Since 2015, it was part of the Ministry of Economy, Development and Tourism.
The Ministry of Energy will also become autonomous. Until now it was part of the Ministry of Environment and Energy, and the General Secretariat for Energy and Mineral Resources will be transferred to it.
Tsipras is definitely feeling pressure to shake things up: A poll earlier this week found Tsipras’ Syriza government 24 points behind the center-right conservative opposition. A restructuring shows that his government is not completely moribund. But Tsipras isn’t just operating with domestic politics in mind; he’s also trying to demonstrate his commitment to reform, and thus show his willingness to bend to the unyielding demands of Brussels and Berlin.
On Thursday, Greece’s central banker said “urgent action” is needed from Brussels to specify what the EU plans to do to help Athens in the next few months. Without more assurances, he warned, Greece’s credibility and stability would be further diminished. At the same time, however, he urged the government to engage in further privatization and to move faster on other market-based reforms which Greece’s creditors have requested.
Things have been quiet out of Greece lately, partly because Brexit and other matters are stealing the European spotlight. But as anger at the government grows and the next wave of debt relief requests come due, things are unlikely to stay that way.