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A blessing in Disguise?
Ambitions, prospects and failures in the ecological modernization of Greece
This paper starts by a commentary on the various attempts for the modernization of Greece since the democratic transition. It then proceeds toward identifying landmark events that were designed to act as stimulants in this process. The administration of the Simitis government is singled out as a major advocate of that process. Subsequently, a key component of that process, the concept of ecological modernization (EM) is singled out. Through a brief engagement with the concept, a set of six EM indicators is identified and we proceed towards their examination in the period after the landmark event of Athens 2004. Since hosting an Olympic edition is accompanied by an aspiration by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that this would facilitate the EM of the host nation, the paper provides an assessment of whether that was the case in Greece in the post-event phase. That examination is split in two phases and deals with another landmark event, which is the entry of Greece in the global economic crisis: The first phase is composed by the brief tenure of Papandreou’s PASOK in government up to the point of the double 2012 national elections. The second phase is composed by an examination of events from June 2012 to the present. We conclude by arguing that the crisis was only partially “a blessing in disguise”. In fact many of the identified impediments of the Greek social, which have been seen as responsible for the crisis, are still present. Moreover, a prospective SYRIZA administration in the near future is very much likely to succumb to the same limitations as far as environmental sustainability is concerned.