When during the term of the coalition government of Antonis Samaras – Evangelos Venizelos the issue of adopting and implementing the infamous OECD Competition Assessment Toolkit, which would liberate the market and render Greece competitive, was brought forward, a lot of the prerequisites stayed on paper and were delayed, as such endangering the government’s position due to internal reactions. The issue of deregulating the establishment and operation of pharmacies was one of them.
The then Development Minister, Mr Kostis Hatzidakis, currently serving as vice-president of New Democracy, was trying to persuade his in-house audience that this deregulation is a widespread and effective European practice. The reactions by pharmacists were livid. At the time, their president in Athens, Mr. Lourantos, had been opposed to these measures – rightly so – and the vast majority joined him. Mr. Lourantos had previously said that “every pharmacy will become a SYRIZA campaign centre”, threatening both ruling parties.
The government of SYRIZA – ANEL tabled an amendment, just before the closing of the Parliament for the Christmas holidays, stipulating the complete deregulation of the operation of pharmacies. Virtually anyone will be able to open a pharmacy, either as an individual or as a commercial enterprise. It is the second attempt of the current coalition government to deregulate the pharmacist profession, as the first one was in spring 20216, along with the provision that the pharmacies would be listed as a Limited Liability Company with at least one pharmacist owning at least 20% of the company. However, this project eventually failed before the Council of State.
Even though pharmacists belong mostly to New Democracy’s electoral base, ND couldn’t, not even in its wildest dreams, get approval from the Parliament for such a proposal.
As is the case of house auctions. The Greek government at the time wouldn’t dare open up the issue, as the Greek society still had fresh in its mind the images of the violent evictions in Spain, under the right-wing government of Mariano Rajoy. By the end of 2014, there were two types of protection on property: legislative regulations and the “Katselis” law. Today, only the second one is in effect.
By way of a parliamentary amendment, SYRIZA, although it used to rebuked the ND – PASOK coalition government for bringing forward, out of the blue, amendments, is currently criminalizing all obstacles to the auctions.. The government used to say “no house to fall into the hands of the banks”, using a slogan that reached directly the hearts of the public having difficulties making ends meet during the memoranda era.
Now, the head of the 53 SYRIZA MPs and Finance Minister, Mr. Euclid Tsakalotos, tries to explain what banking rationalism demands; that auctions are connected to the sustainability of the banking system. Not even in his wildest dreams would a Finance Minister under the ND-PASOK coalition government could have uttered such a statement.
Not even in their wildest dreams…