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Reforming the Greek Tax Collection Authority: 'Europeanisation' or Re-building the Ship during the Storm?

Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos, Argyris G. Passas

This paper - which is based on an entirely new research project - seeks to trace the origin as well as the implementation of a major, externally-induced reform of the Greek tax collection agency. As part of the 'bailout' agreements with its European partners and the IMF, the Greek government is in the process of turning the Greek tax collection mechanism (Secretariat General for Public Revenue) into an independent or at least largely autonomous organization. Until recently it was an ordinary part of the hierarchy of the Greek Ministry of Finance and thus subject to ministerial interference. The reform reflects the view that tax collection in Greece has been far too politicised as well as associated with corruption. This paper locates this reform in two distinct but related literatures. The first is the literature on Greece's 'reform capacity' which broadly claims that this capacity is very limited and thus echoes the part of the literature on 'Europeanisation' which highlights the relevance of domestic factors that condition its outcomes. The second literature relates to the role of independent authorities and the connection between independence and effectiveness.

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