NEWS

Unveiling of key policies set for April 15

April 15 has become a watershed moment for the government as it was decided on Wednesday that apart from the privatization plan, PASOK would also unveil its midterm economic goals and the extra austerity measures it intends to adopt this year.

Following a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, sources revealed that all three key pieces of policy planning would be unveiled in just over two weeks. By putting all his eggs in one basket, Prime Minister George Papandreou is taking the risk of provoking a negative reaction not only from the opposition parties but from PASOK MPs as well.

The issue of privatizations has already stirred discontent within the ruling party and among ministers, forcing Papandreou to say that he would pass a law preventing any government from selling public land without Parliament?s approval. However, following talks with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, the government has committed to raising 50 billion euros from privatizations by 2015.

Serious doubts have been expressed about whether Greece can meet such a target but the government plans to set out a roadmap on April 15 for achieving this goal.

On the same day, the government will unveil its midterm fiscal plan, which covers the period 2012 to 2015. Papandreou and his team will have to find a way to raise 22 billion euros on top of another 1.8 billion that must be cut this year. Greece?s target is to bring the deficit down to 1 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.

Of the 22 billion euros, 15 billion will come from spending cuts and 7 billion from increased revenues, according to government plans. The Finance Ministry is hoping that a reduction in the number of civil servants will play a vital role in achieving these targets. It is estimated that 150,000 people will leave the civil service by 2015.

In an attempt to quash the disquiet in the Cabinet about the important decisions that will be taken over the next couple of weeks, Papandreou asked his ministers to refrain from expressing their concerns publicly. He also took a swipe at the media, saying that some outlets have been exaggerating disagreements on purpose. Papandreou described the relationship between the media and politicians and parties as an ?illness.?