chapter  3
18 Pages

The Role of Experts in the Reform Process in Greece

Where do ideas about policy reform come from and who are the carriers of new ideas at the domestic level? Given the links between modernisation and Europeanisation (Diamandouros 1984; Lavdas 1997: 252-54) it is expected that a lot of the ideas come from Western European countries through processes of policy learning. At the same time, the tendency towards rationalisation of public policy raises the expectation of an increased role for experts in policy reform. Rationalisation during the last decade mainly refers to the adoption of new public management techniques and instruments, which presuppose an increased role for experts. A number of theoretical frameworks and concepts such as epistemic communities (Haas 1992), the advocacy coalition framework (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith 1993; 1999) and the policy transfer network (Evans and Davies 1999) have been developed and have focused on the role of ideas and learning as central factors in policy change. This article compares the three frameworks and explores the role of expertise in the reform process in Greece by utilising the

advocacy coalition framework, which is here argued to be the most useful of the three. It is claimed that the role of experts in processes of policy reform has increased although evidence of policy learning is limited. Nevertheless, the dominance of the political parties that has been a central characteristic of the Greek politico-administrative system since the end of the Second World War (Mouzelis and Pagoulatos 2003) still persists and expresses itself through the participation of certain experts in policy-making. The argument made in this article is sustained through the discussion of

the role that experts played during the latest constitutional reform. The 2001 constitutional reform was an arena of political debates and of wide participation that aimed at the modernisation of the fundamental basis of the Greek political and administrative systems (see Eleftheriadis this volume; Venizelos 2002). More specifically, the paper focuses on the findings of primary research that was conducted on the role of experts in the reform of article 24 on the environment, land and urban planning and of article 102 on the decentralisation of public administration and the strengthening of regional structures of governance. Both of these areas have been greatly affected by processes of Europeanisation (Jordan 2002; Committee of the Regions 2000) and as a result an increased willingness for learning and expert participation was anticipated. It will be shown that, as expected, experts participated in the discussions of both articles but the article on the environment caused a much greater public debate. In both cases the role of political parties was dominant. This article is organised into three sections. The first section offers a

discussion of processes of policy change and policy learning. Section two is an introduction to the role of experts in public policy reforms in Greece. Four types of research organisation are discussed that have emerged in the last 20 years in the Greek political scene. Section three provides a more indepth analysis of the role of experts in policy reform by analysing the processes of changing articles 24 and 102 during the last constitutional reform. The advocacy coalition framework is used in order to organise, compare and offer some insights into the case studies.