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Decentralization, Local Government Reforms and Perceptions of Local Actors: The Greek Case

Ioannidis, Panos (2015): Decentralization, Local Government Reforms and Perceptions of Local Actors: The Greek Case.

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Decentralization deployed in the last two decades in Greece via two local government reforms. Kapodistrias Plan and Kallikrates Project amalgamated successively the huge number of 5.775 municipalities and communities into 325 enlarged municipalities, institutionalized the 13 regions as second tiers of local government and transferred an unparalleled set of rights and powers to municipalities and regions. The abovementioned reforms changed the operation of local governments and established new conditions for the role of local actors in regional planning. This paper aims to assess the decentralization process in Greece, by taking into account the perceptions of local actors. A primary research was held in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace region, in order to understand the affiliation of local actors to the reforms. Results demonstrate that Kapodistrias reform had bigger social acceptance than Kallikrates, as economic crisis and rough spatial planning deter the effective implementation of the second wave of reforms. Non institutional actors and members of societal and cultural organizations perceived more substantially the reforms, than institutional actors and non members of local organizations did. Further improvements are necessary for the modernization of Greek local governments, in the fields of financial decentralization and administrative capacity

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