Avoiding repeats of the ‘Greek Tragedy’

  • Posted on 16.12.2009

Avoiding repeats of the ‘Greek Tragedy’


John Wilkinson

Former Chief Executive of Eucomed


As the true depth of the Greek debt crisis unfolds it is hard to understand why the alarm bells were not ringing long ago. In our sector alone there is something in the region of €2.3 billion of unpaid bills and this has not happened overnight. We were warning of this particular symptom almost two years ago.

As the revision of the Late Payments Directive passes through the legislative process it is hard to understand why some member states should work to eliminate any suggestion that the public sector should be obliged to pay debts according to the terms of contracts signed. In the private lives of most of us this is a given, so why not for governments.

For both ethical and strong financial reasons, making Governments pay their bills on time would constitute good medicine for all and be one significant step towards reducing the ‘smoke and mirrors’ associated with the management of public finances in many member states. A strong and effective Late Payments Directive would be one strong brick in the foundations of the European Growth and Stability Pact and one less thing for Brussels to worry about.

– John Wilkinson, Chief Executive Eucomed

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