The last days, on the occasion of the decision of the Court of Auditors to cancel - for the first time in history- the competition of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs for school meals, A number of issues concerning this institution have come to the fore.
In another case, it turns out that the government is incapable of promoting effective welfare measures to the citizens of the country, as, Its main compass is the service of big interests.
To substantiate the above view, we need to record a small chronicle in the case of school meals, from their establishment to the current impasse.
The introduction of school meals during SYRIZA PS.
SYRIZA PS, when he took over the government of the country, was faced with urgent problems concerning the pre-existing humanitarian crisis: high poverty rates (children, energy etc.), inadequate welfare policies, labyrinthine conditions, opacity.
On this axis, in addition to other important measures, it was decided to promote the measure of school meals in primary education, an institution that applied in most European countries.
In this way it was secured, in addition to the obvious support of vulnerable students:
Enhancing solidarity and camaraderie in the student community
Improving performance thanks to increased calorie intake
The development of domestic primary production, as the products selected are local and of high nutritional value
Promoting a healthy Mediterranean diet
End, with the provision for the support of local producers and suppliers, SYRIZA PS. had taken care of the increase of jobs in the neighboring areas..
After a pilot implementation of the program in Perama 2016, sponsored by the National Bank, the institution of school meals was instituted by Law 4455/2017, while the inclusion of the expenditure in the state budget was foreseen.
According to the planning of SYRIZA PS. the 2023-24 school meals would be given to all primary school children in the country (600.000) in safety and hygiene conditions.
Throughout this project, of the gradual expansion of the institution with the corresponding increase in funding, the necessary conditions for the approval of the tenders by the auditing authorities were met.
The New Democracy, as an opposition, criticized the initiative of SYRIZA PS, talking about "alms" and "indecency", instead of dwelling on the obvious advantages of the institution for children, families, the school community, local production and local suppliers.
An outspoken opposition stance that characterized it on a number of issues such as the Prespa Agreement, the safety of citizens, the climate crisis and environmental disasters, the economic and social prospects and a number of other areas in which the ND promoted a sterile opposition to meet the short-lived, her voting interests.
The rejection of ND's tender by the Court of Auditors
The government, who did not support the institution as an official opposition, in April 2021 announced a tender through OPEKA. for school meals for the period 2021-2024.
The expansion of the measure throughout Greece, therefore in P.E.. Kozani, gave us the opportunity to witness old party contests by the MPs of ND, on the paternity of the extension of the measure in the region, when the only truth is that slow, cowardly and gradual extension of the Law of SYRIZA PS., was routed and binding, objective criteria (unemployment rate, beneficiaries of KEA etc.).
However, in the field of the competition it turned out that six is second nature for N.D.. According to the competent Head of SYRIZA PS. K. Theano Fotiou, the political leadership of the Ministry to favor big businessmen, included for the first time in the competition that OPEKA. repeated unchanged every year, a term-carmaniola, which required the candidate companies to have received, the last two years, from a single hot meal contract, remuneration equal to 80% of the project they claimed.
Example, for the school meals of a budget city 3 from., they should have gotten from a single contract 2,4 from. This term favored large catering companies to the detriment of small and medium-sized businesses, resulting in the majority of contracts being awarded to less than five contractors. In fact, three companies were awarded contracts 127 from., the 50% of the total budget for the three years.
Exclusion of the little ones, local producers, support of large suppliers: history repeats itself once again.
The Court of Auditors, for the first time in history, decided on 13 October that the competition is not legal, as it excluded candidates, contained photographic provisions and that it should be re-announced.
Solutions to address the problem - The Proposal of SYRIZA PS.
The government's incompetence would lead to the cancellation of school meals at least until its inception 2022, creating big problems for eligible students.
SYRIZA PS. with his amendment suggested that school meals
-until the completion of the new regular competition to be announced- to be implemented by the companies that had undertaken them during the school year 2020-2021 with the legal tender that had been held then.
Alongside, the same companies, with the same unit price, to cover neighboring schools, municipalities or regional units while, end, It was proposed that the new tender be announced on the same terms as before 2020, so that there are no new discharges.
The government, in the face of the impasse it has created to promote the interests of large suppliers, tabled and voted on an amendment allowing direct outsourcing.
The logic of direct assignments is not foreign to ND: recent is the news that the 65% of expenditure for the period January 2020 - June 2021 has been done by direct assignments (!).
But the law provides for the bypassing of tenders and direct assignments, gives the right only if there is an urgent need due to unforeseen events and if no liability of the contracting authority is presumed, conditions that do not apply in the case of school meals, as there is direct responsibility from the government that amended the announcement of OPEKA..
Therefore, the government's choice of direct assignments, leads to circumvention of legality once again with questionable results for the fate of school meals.
Deception and impotence have short legs.
The conclusion from the history of school meals is one. Today, when accuracy and price spikes are knocking on the door of the middle class, while the impoverishment of the smaller ones is returning rapidly, the government does not care about the young students who benefited from the program, for the parents who were relieved, as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises and local markets.
The deception and incompetence of the government creates devastating conditions of survival for the citizens of the country.
It has become commonplace that the government only promotes big business interests. The citizens of the country, despite the unprecedented immunity from the media, they fully understand what is going on in their daily lives.
Most, the countdown has begun.
Member of Parliament for SYRIZA PS. Π.Ε. Kozani