NEWS

PM briefs coalition cadres on multi-bill

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is meeting with leading government cadres on Tuesday to discuss a multi-bill of so-called “prior actions” demanded by international creditors that the government hopes to get voted through Parliament by Sunday.

Samaras rejected a call by PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos for a meeting of party chiefs before any final decisions on the bill are made, citing the absence of Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of junior coalition partner Democratic Left, who is currently in Brussels.

The prime minister has instead chosen to meet with leading officials from the ministries that will be most affected by the new legislation – including Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis of Democratic Left and Development Minister Costis Hatzidakis of ruling New Democracy – in a bid to hammer out any major differences between the coalition partners amid complaints from PASOK and Democratic Left that they have not been adequately informed of the contents of the bill.

The officials will be briefed by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras as to the exact contents of the draft bill, which includes provisions for streamlining the civil service by dismissing 15,000 civil servants by the end of 2014 – one of the most divisive parts of the legislation.

The section on the civil servants’ layoffs is expected to be detailed with provisions aimed at speeding up the disciplinary process that public servants accused of offenses must go through. There will also be incentives for older employees to take early retirement.

The multi-bill will also outline the number of installments Greeks will be allowed to repay taxes or social security contributions and a 15 percent reduction on the emergency property tax.

Stournaras on Monday said that Parliament would have to approve the prior actions in time for a Eurogroup meeting on May 13, when an installment of 6 billion euros is due to be approved.

A 2.8-billion-euro tranche was set to get the green light when the Euro Working Group meets next Monday, though it is likely that the vote will be put back to Wednesday.