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Birkbeck academic publishes book exploring tax collection in Greece

Dr Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos from Birkbeck’s Department of Politics has co-written a book with Argyris Passas, Associate Professor from Panteion University entitled ‘The Depoliticisation of Greece’s Public Revenue Administration’.

Poor tax collection was a key factor that brought Greece to an unprecedented crisis of its public finances more than a decade ago. The Depoliticisation of Greece’s Public Revenue Administration analyses the main reform of Greece’s public revenue administration that was introduced under the bailout agreements concluded by successive Greek governments and the country’s international partners. 

The book examines how an integral part of the finance ministry was converted into an independent agency operating largely outside the direct control of the finance minister. The authors focus on the implementation of this major reform, as well as the changes it has brought about and the significant issues it raises.

Dr Dionyssis Dimitrakopoulos, Senior Lecturer in Politics at Birkbeck, commented:

“The reform effectively depoliticised tax collection, which had long been a major problem in Greece. It is remarkable because it is radical, it has been implemented during an unprecedented crisis and it is the only structural reform of Greece’s public administration that has been actually carried out in full during the crisis. 

“The real test will come either when taxpayers or a powerful group thereof complain about overzealous tax collection, or when the European Commission is no longer present in the panel that selects the head of the institution.”

As well as exploring Greece’s reform capacity with a focus on its tax administration, the book helps readers understand the response to the eurozone crisis (especially, the conditionality of funding), and the expansion of the scope of non-majoritarian institutions in Western democracies.

Dr Dimitrakopoulos directs the MSc in European Politics and Policy at Birkbeck.

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