ECONOMY

In Brief

Greece votes against directive on professionals’ mobility LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – It will be easier for professionals to travel and work in the 25-nation European Union after EU ministers agreed new rules yesterday which ensure their qualifications are recognized across the bloc. The rules aim to increase labor mobility inside the EU – which is lagging behind the United States when it comes to people traveling to find a job – and are seen as an important part of the EU’s drive to stimulate more economic growth. EU competitiveness ministers adopted the so-called directive that obliges EU states to recognize skills acquired elsewhere in the bloc. Professionals on short-term assignments in another member state will only have to produce a document proving they have obtained their qualification in their home country or show they have two years of professional experience. There will still be minimum, Europe-wide standards for key sensitive professions such as doctors, pharmacists, obstetricians and architects. The directive secured a majority despite Greece and Germany voting against, and Luxembourg abstaining. The new rules will enter into force sometime in 2007. Redundancy cost The cost of telecom provider OTE’s voluntary redundancy plan for a third of its work force is estimated at about 1 billion euros for its main pension fund TAP-OTE, the fund said yesterday. OTE is targeting roughly 6,000 redundancies out of a work force of 16,215, over a 12-month period.