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The Troika is back in Athens this week

27 September 2011 / 14:09:34  GRReporter
2296 reads

Victoria Mindova

The Troika agreed to return to Athens on Wednesday to renew the talks with the Greek government. The rules of the game change and promises are no longer relevant. The financial supporters of Greece want concrete measures first and then they will pay the next tranche of the promised aid. Greece’s lenders from the International Monetary Fund and the European institutions expect soon to receive an official letter from the Prime Minister George Papandreou and the Minister of Finance Evangelso Venizelos, in which the state representatives will present the achieved so far and how they are prepared to deal with the visible obstacles in the near future.

"Our goal is not simply to get the sixth tranche of the bailout but also to implement in full the agreements of 21 July this year," Venizelos said at a press conference, which had the sole purpose to appease the rebel spirits in the country. He did not announce new measures but was adamant that the government would do whatever it could to avoid bankruptcy. "If we implement the agreements today, the Greek people will remember today's crisis with the reduction of pensions and salaries. If we do not meet our obligations under the agreed financial assistance, the crisis today will become the largest national catastrophe that the country has seen," said Venizelos in support of the strict policy of economic cuts.

While the Minister of Finance was speaking at the press conference, dozens of civil servants gathered at the door of his ministry. They protested against the introduction of the unified table for the calculation of public sector wages. It is expected to make the salaries of employees in public administration equal as today they are estimated at the discretion of the heads of the various public organizations. Shouting and whistling from the crowd at the doors could be heard from the open windows of the conference hall of the ministry, where Venizelos had invited the journalists. Police officers from the service to combat civil unrest guarded the entrance of the ministry.

Venizelos said that the unified table would make the payroll wages of employees in the public sector equal and the average reduction would be about 20%. About 10 per cent of civil servants, who now receive salaries close to the minimum wage, will benefit from increases in the minimum monthly salaries of around 7%. The law on the labour reserve should enter into force until November 1, this year, which will start the first real cuts in the public administration.

106 public organizations had to prepare until yesterday detailed reports describing their activity, jobs and suggestions for cuts. Instead, the Ministry of Finance received reports of the 106 public organizations, specifying what they are missing and what additional appointments should be made to allow them to work properly, according to their definition. "The responses we received are not friendly to the reorganization of the public administration but to the staff in each institution. We can not act that way," sharply replied Venizelos. He stressed that if the divisions of  the public sector are not able to decide alone what cuts should be made, the recruitment agency at the public administration, which in late 2009 dealt only with evaluation of staff and appointments, will decide.

The statements relating to the public sector restructuring were persuasive for the first time, which largely proves that the time of empty promises by the Greek government has gone. 30,000 people will be included in the labour reserve program by the end of the year and according to Venizelos, 2012 is Greece’s last chance to prove it is able to cope with the debt crisis. As for the default scenarios in the coming months, Venizelos said, "There will be no default or bankruptcy or any other type of suspension of payments of any member state of the euro zone. Such speculation must end. Greece will take all possible measures to have primary budget surpluses at the end of 2012."

Tags: EconomyMarketsTroikaSupervisionGreeceReforms
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