By Prokopis Hatzinikolaou and Sotiris Nikas
The government is in the process of identifying civil servants who have violated the code of conduct, who used false documents to obtain their position or who have been absent without leave in a bid to respond to demands for layoffs by the country’s international creditors.
The ministries of Finance and Administrative Reform expect that the monitoring will help to select between 7,000 and 8,000 public sector workers who will leave the civil service by the end of 2014, with the completion of all legal procedures.
This will be the main issue at Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras’s meeting on Wednesday with the troika – as the representatives of European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund are collectively known – which is pressing Athens for immediate progress on the subject. The program of departures from the public sector is the most important prior action required for the disbursement of the March tranche of the bailout package, worth 2.8 billion euros.
After yesterday’s ECOFIN meeting of European Union finance and economy ministers, reporters reminded Stournaras that he had expressed certainty about a month ago regarding the approval of the February installment. The Greek minister responded that “this time it is not up to me.”
Meanwhile the new regulation for the settlement of expired debts to the tax authorities is almost ready after the troika gave its approval to the Finance Ministry, realizing that debtors are unable to repay their obligations as things stand.
Ministry officials have told Kathimerini that the regulation for expired debts is at an advanced stage, including a clause for the writing off of debts that cannot be collected (amounting to some 80 percent of the 55-billion-euro total), but on the issue of public sector layoffs, there is still a long way to go before Athens and its creditors reach any sort of agreement.
The troika will also hold a meeting with Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis on Wednesday so he can provide them with a clear picture of the course of the streamlining program ahead of their key meeting on Thursday with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.