IMF chief of mis­sion calls for sim­pler la­bor mar­ket reg­u­la­tions

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY CHRISTINA KOPSINI

Hir­ing and fir­ing in the Greek la­bor mar­ket ought to be eas­ier and sim­pler, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Greece, Bob Traa.

The head of the Wash­ing­ton­based Fund’s mis­sion in Athens made it clear he was voic­ing his own per­sonal opin­ion when ad­dress­ing a sem­i­nar jointly or­ga­nized by the In­ter­na­tional La­bor Or­ga­ni­za­tion and the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in the Greek cap­i­tal yes­ter­day, in­sist­ing that hir­ing and fir­ing em­ploy­ees should be made sim­pler, re­gard­less of the con­se­quences that may have on en­try-level salaries in the mar­ket, as well as sev­er­ance pay and ex­ist­ing re­stric­tions re­gard­ing group lay­offs.

Pri­or­ity must be given to the lib­er­al­iza­tion of the mar­kets and pro­fes­sions, stressed Traa. He went on to in­clude th­ese “nec­es­sary in­ter­ven­tions” as part of a process for Greece to en­sure “sus­tain­able growth” that will rely not on new loans but lend pri­or­ity to at­tract­ing in­vestors with their own funds. He said the coun­try should be tar­get­ing in­vestors “who cur­rently think that it is still too hard to start a busi­ness in Greece.”

The rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the In­ter-

data, the IMF’s top rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Athens, Bob Traa, noted that af­ter a very dif­fi­cult 2012, ‘there al­ready is some light in 2013’ as the growth in the job­less rate has started to ease. national Mone­tary Fund also spoke of a “very deep re­ces­sion in Greece and an ex­ces­sively high un­em­ploy­ment rate that will def­i­nitely have to be re­duced.” Com­ment­ing on Hel­lenic Sta­tis­ti­cal Au­thor­ity em­ploy­ment data, he noted that af­ter a very dif­fi­cult 2012, “there al­ready is some light in 2013” as the growth in the job- less rate has started to slow down.

“There has been a re­ver­sal that is set to con­tinue in the fu­ture,” said Traa, ar­gu­ing that it is wrong to use the year 2000 as a ba­sis for cal­cu­la­tions, as the econ­omy was al­ready in trou­ble then with the very high ex­change rate and the coun­try’s en­try into the Eco­nomic and Mone­tary Union.

Com­ment­ing on un­em­ploy­ment

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