Civil ser­vants face chop

Gov­ern­ment set to meet troika de­mand; eu­ro­zone talks in­con­clu­sive on Greece

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

A meet­ing of eu­ro­zone fi­nance min­is­ters in Brus­sels looked set to end yes­ter­day with­out any firm de­ci­sion on how Greece’s debt cri­sis should be dealt with, al­though the gov­ern­ment in Athens ap­peared ready to start dis­pens­ing with some civil ser­vants in a bid to se­cure con­tin­ued loans from the Euro­pean Union and the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund.

The fi­nance min­is­ters, in­clud­ing Greece’s Gior­gos Pa­pa­con­stanti­nou, had not ar­rived at a de­ci­sion by late last night on how to deal with Greece’s spi­ral­ing debt. Pos­si­ble re­struc­tur­ing or re­pro­fil­ing of Greek debt as well as the op­tion of a sec­ond bailout are be­lieved to have been dis­cussed in Brus­sels. In Athens, mean­while, the gov­ern­ment seemed to be broach­ing a ta­boo sub­ject as In­te­rior Min­is­ter Yian­nis Ragousis in- di­cated that thou­sands of civil ser­vants could be fired dur­ing up­com­ing de­part­men­tal trans­fers. The gov­ern­ment has so far re­sisted calls from the EU and the IMF to fire about 30 per­cent of the civil ser­vice, in­stead say­ing that it would grad­u­ally re­duce the num­ber of em­ploy­ees by only hir­ing one can­di­date for ev­ery five who leave.

How­ever, this looks set to change. The gov­ern­ment has said it will trans­fer some 130,000 civil ser­vants to other de­part­ments. Ragousis in­di­cated yes­ter­day that the Supreme Coun­cil for Per­son­nel Se­lec­tion (ASEP) would eval­u­ate them and that any who were deemed “not wor­thy of work­ing in the pub­lic sec­tor” would be sacked.

The troika is likely to main­tain the pres­sure on Greece to fire civil ser­vants as it has se­ri­ous doubts about whether the gov­ern­ment is capa- ble of mak­ing the 26 bil­lion eu­ros of sav­ings that it has bud­geted for by 2015. Six bil­lion eu­ros of those cuts will have to come this year, troika of­fi­cials have told the gov­ern­ment.

Athens is ex­pected to make pub­lic its re­vised midterm fis­cal plan on Thurs­day, when it will re­veal what mea­sures it has agreed to in or­der to se­cure on­go­ing fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance from the EU and the IMF. Min­is­ters ex­pressed concern dur­ing yes­ter­day’s cabi­net meet­ing that the de­ten­tion of IMF Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Do­minique Strauss-Kahn, de­tained in New York on sex­ual as­sault charges, could weaken Greece’s ne­go­ti­at­ing po­si­tion, es­pe­cially if it asks for a sec­ond bailout, since Athens con­sid­ered him to have a pro-Greek stance com­pared to the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank.

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