Rena Dourou

GOVERNOR OF ATTICA REGION

Greece 2019  I  Economy  I  Leader

BIOGRAPHY twice elected as a member of the Hellenic Parliament, she was elected Governor of the Attica Region following the May 2014 regional elections. she received a teacher’s degree from the University of Athens and pursued postgraduate studies in France, Turkey and Great Britain. With Master’s degree in Political Science, She speaks English, French and Turkish.

“LOCAL ADMINISTRATION NEEDS TO BE MODERNIZED, GET RID OF RED TAPE, CORRUPTION AND BUILD A SOLID INSTITUTIONAL BASE SERVING THE INTERESTS OF CIVIL SOCIETY.”

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT PRIORITIES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF ATTICA REGION? 

 

The current administration of the Region of Attica aims at the implementation of a new administration model. A model without the flaws of red tape, corruption and ineffectiveness. During the last decades, the ruling parties had never paid the attention needed to a good and effective public administration. This is why we are proposing to the government, reforms concerning the Kallikratis law, the law applied to the local and regional authorities, or even the Constitution, aiming to guarantee the metropolitan feature of Attica, without any fiscal burden, in order to modernize the administration ruling. We are very well aware that an efficient public administration, especially in a region with the features of Attica, is a strong ‘argument’ for attracting investment and resetting national economy. 

 

Fighting corruption is also a major issue for the future of democracy. It is a precondition for acting against the actual rise of the forces of hate and radicalization. So our struggle is a twofold one: on the one hand to change and modernize the way the public administration works, fighting against corruption, red tape. On the other hand we work out a new ‘ecosystem’ for the new forms of entrepreneurship and business.

 

YOU HAVE INSISTED IN THE NEED OF STRUCTURAL REFORMS FOR ATTRACTING INVESTMENTS. WHAT ARE THE STEPS BEING TAKEN IN THIS DIRECTION? 

 

There is a need for efficiency, overcoming the red tape and corruption all kind of dysfunctions of the public administration. These flaws undermine the policies for attracting investment. We need strong initiatives to that direction, initiatives, aiming not to the future, but to the present. We cannot afford to lose time because we have already lost half a century, having to deal with an administration based on partisanship and special interest groups – this was the kind of politics of the two main parties, conservatives and socialists, which led to economic crisis and the democracy crisis of our country. This is why we need urgently to change the administration paradigm. That is what we are working for in Attica. 

 

Although Attica has not a strong entrepreneurial culture we try hard to acquire one. We try to change old mindsets and to promote the appropriate policies in order to back new forms of entrepreneurship, to back the projects of young people, of women, the innovative actions concerning the incubators, the startups. We participate in important innovation evens, as the Tel Aviv Innovation Festival for start–ups and the Slush event in Helsinki. Both were leading events concerning startups and helping to spark a useful dialogue for the future. We make many fruitful contacts, exchange experiences and good practices. 

 

ATTICA REGION IS ALSO DEVELOPING OTHER SEGMENTS WITH GROWTH POTENTIAL SUCH AS TOURISM. HOW DO YOU PLAN TO FURTHER DEVELOP THE SECTOR? 

 

We are aware that we have to take initiatives in order to boost many assets of Attica, such as tourism, culture, and investment opportunities – assets that could help in creating the new appropriate business context. Attica is an unparalleled place for business, work, fun and we are working hard to maximize all these assets, in a very difficult, greek and european context. Our strategy concerning Attica’s tourism promotion is to create a multi tourist product with many destinations. We won’t be limited to the wellknown attractions as the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. Attica has many ancient but also modern sites of tourist attraction and our goal is to promote all of them. In that sense, we collaborate with the 66 municipalities of Attica, for singling out the main attractions. 

 

We are very proud that Eleusis has been selected for the cultural capital of Europe for 2021. We strongly supported its candidacy, we worked for it with the municipality of Eleusis and we hope that this will be the starting point for a multidimensional regeneration – much needd in places like Eleusis, suffering from high unemployment rate, especially among young people, and from the consequences of the economic crisis. Nowadays culture could be the driving force for growth provided there are the appropriate policies backing well targeted initiatives. 

  

The environmental protection is also among our priorities. We are currently changing the policy concerning the waste management system in regional level. We are pursuing an environment friendly and job creating approach, based on European legislation. Our goal is to close the Fyli landfill, the biggest in Europe, and promote recycling and reusing. We face many obstacles, but we will prevail because the time has come for Attica to acquire a modern, economic and environmentally fair and sustainable waste management system.

 

HOW DO YOU SEE THE DEVELOPMENT OF ATTICA REGION WITHIN AN EUROPEAN UNION PERSPECTIVE? 

 

Nowadays the most important problem is defending democracy against the European versions of altright, the current expressions of fascism in many European countries. This is not Greece’s or Attica’s problem, but a European one concerning the future of democracy, of enlightenment and the way we want to build our European future. It is a question of defending the values of social cohesion, solidarity, equality. 

 

The effort for democracy, social rights, peace and stability is a collective and never-ending struggle. Nowadays we refer to the Europe of regions and local democracy acquires a new, profound meaning leading to the strengthening of the democratic institutions. This is why Attica Region is asking for Greece to ratify the European Charter of Local SelfGovernment also for the regional level – actually Greece has ratified the Charter concerning only the municipality level. Furthermore, local administration needs to be modernized, get rid of red tape, corruption and build a solid institutional base serving the interests of civil society. 

 

For the first time in Greece, Attica is the only region of the country participating in the Integrity Pact public procurement, a common initiative of the European Commission and International Transparency. This is an important tool to help the administrations in public contracting. The goal is that neither side will pay, offer, demand or accept bribes, nor will bidders collude with competitors to obtain the contract, or bribe representatives of the authority while carrying it out. 

 

We are also advancing women rights which are suffering from the democracy crisis through the return of patriarchal models. Women still have to do much more in order to guarantee their elementary rights. Women politicians are less exposed although they are still subject to criticism on the way they look rather the way they think or act. What we need is to change our mindset in a way to respond to the expectation of the young generations.