NEWS

OAED chief says agency kept lid on unemployment

Greece’s unemployment rate would have skyrocketed to 34 percent were it not for the programs of the country’s employment agency OAED, the head of the organization told Sunday’s Kathimerini.

Despite being “ad hoc,” OAED’s programs have generated 350,000 jobs, Ilias Kikilias said.

There are currently between 400,000 and 450,000 families in Greece without a single employed person, Kikilias said, describing them as a top priority for the agency’s remedial policies. OAED programs could be financed using unabsorbed EU structural funds or by re-channeling money from less pressing programs, he added.

Official figures put Greece’s jobless rate at 27 percent in November, almost double the eurozone average.

Kikilias said unchecked handouts disguised as welfare policy was at the heart of the Greek crisis. “Over the past 10-15 years, we relied on cheap loans… and a consumption-driven lifestyle,” he added.