Hardouvelis to push for milestones target

By Sotiris Nikas

The multi-bill covering the prior actions required for the disbursement of the summer’s second sub-tranche is an immediate priority for the government, but it is not the only one.

The Finance Ministry, and Minister Gikas Hardouvelis in particular, has warned against any relaxation in August that would mean missing the opportunity for the fast completion of the next inspection by the country’s creditors.

The problem is that there are hundreds of measures to be implemented.

The back-to-back elections in May did not help the government in its efforts to stick to the timetable, so procedures must be accelerated now.

Sources say that so far Greece has only implemented 30 percent of the so-called milestones due by the end of September, and that is only thanks to the intensive efforts of the last couple of weeks to cover some of the lost ground. The Finance Ministry is even asking for some prior actions to be completed ahead of schedule.

In this context, Hardouvelis has asked the prime minister to call a cabinet meeting to explain clearly to all ministers that the implementation of all milestones by September 15 constitutes a central government target. That meeting may take place as early as Friday afternoon.

The list of prior actions demanded is very long, numbering about 600 entries in total, and there are several ministries that share the responsibility for their implementation.

--Administrative Reform Ministry: From July to September it must proceed with the revision of all non-salary privileges, such as terms for days of absence, travel perks etc, and within August it must complete the operational guidelines for public entities. In September it must have passed a law for the evaluation of civil servants.

--Labor Ministry: By the time the creditor representatives return, it must have taken care of two very important matters: The first concerns the drafting of actuarial studies on the sustainability of the social security system, and the second a possible change to the system for group layoffs.

--Justice Ministry: The changes to criminal law should have been implemented by May. The process has started but the reform has not yet been completed.

--Health Ministry: It must adopt permanent measures to reduce hospital expenditure by 25 million euros this year.

--Finance Ministry: Hardouvelis himself has to promote a series of actions, such as the restructuring of the tax system, the expansion of the definition of tax evasion and legislation to offer tax incentives for investments.