List published with first 21 state bodies to go

The government made good on its pledge to push forward with cutbacks in the state sector on Tuesday, publishing a list with the first 21 state organizations from around 250 that are to be merged and abolished as part of a drive to raise much-needed revenue.

Most of the bodies on the list either have been deemed to fulfill similar roles — such as the Thessaloniki International Fair, Helexpo and the Organization for the Promotion of Exports (ELKE) — or to have a very limited focus that could be covered more effectively by the central services of the ministries that oversee them.

The merging and abolition of the 21 organizations on the list are to be carried out over the next few weeks, once the relevant legislative provisions have been issued, while the second wave of mergers is expected to be announced in the fall. The first phase of changes are to save the state an estimated 40 million euros, a drop in the ocean considering the billions of euros in savings that Greece is under pressure to make, but authorities hope that the political gesture will convince creditors of the country?s good intentions.

Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis and Alternate Minister Manousos Voloudakis have stressed that none of the 5,256 employees working in the 21 organizations will lose their jobs but will be transferred to other positions in the state sector.

The services that had been provided by the abolished organizations will continue to be offered by the bodies into which they are merged or the ministries overseeing them, officials said. The Organization of Tourism Education and Training (OTEK), for instance, is being abolished but its services will be provided by the Tourism Ministry, while the Hellenic Marine Union is to be incorporated into the Defense Ministry.

Of the 21 organizations, two fall under the auspices of the Development Ministry, one under the Education Ministry and two under the Tourism Ministry. Ten are state bodies which operate according to private sector rules.

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