Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oversized Greek Cultural Delegation Attends DC CPAC Hearing as Rank and File Riots for Back Pay on Acropolis in Athens

At last week's CPAC meeting on the Greek MOU, I was struck by Greece's oversized delegation. If memory serves, there may have been as many as 11 officials present. I can only assume at least some flew in from Athens for the occassion. In contrast, most countries find a way to make do with far fewer officials. For example, Italy sent 3 officials to the recent CPAC meetings on the renewal of its MOU, one from the Culture Ministry and two from the Embassy. Smaller countries often typically manage just fine with one Embassy official.

Meanwhile, as the large Greek delegation was hobnobbing with CPAC and State Department officialdom, back in Athens, low ranking Greek culture ministry employees were rioting at the Acropolis because they had not been paid. See:

What gives? Doesn't such excess just confirm the worst about the bloated Greek cultural establishment? While no one said it openly last week (but they did in written submissions), it is common knowledge Greece's cultural establishment was a mess even before Greece's economic meltdown. See

Here is the ultimate question: Should the US help prop up the status quo in Greece, particularly when over 70% of the public comments to the proposed MOU are opposed? I think not. Greece needs to drastically reform its own cultural bureaucracy first, and get away from the over regulation that just ensures there is one rule for insiders and another for the common Joe. As was suggested during the hearing, at a minimum the Greek cultural bureaucracy should at least be held to actually following Greek law, which includes at least some protections for collectors and finders.

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