NEWS

Civil service overhaul fails to pick up steam

Just three weeks before the deadline expires for the government to complete 4,000 lay-offs from the civil service, most ministries appear to be dragging their feet over the evaluation of state organizations that come under their jurisdiction.

The government needs to find 1,000-1,500 employees to let go by the end of the year if it hopes to meet a target set by Greece’s international creditors. It will also need to start drawing up lists for an additional 11,000 dismissals in 2014 if its wants to honor its bailout commitments.

However, with the exception of the ministries of Transport and Culture, others that are required to present lists of candidates for dismissal from the state bodies being evaluated have failed to comply, Kathimerini understands. This is despite a recent demand from Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis that the process be speeded up.

The ministries are also said to be delaying placing a certain number of employees in a so-called mobility scheme that will see them receiving 75 percent of their salaries for a period of eight months during which they will undergo an evaluation. The evaluation will then determine whether they will be let go or transferred to other departments in the public administration. The 11,000 dismissals the troika of foreign lenders expects Greece to make next year are to come from this pool of employees.

Speaking in Parliament on Friday within the framework of a debate on the 2014 budget, Mitsotakis appeared determined to reach the year-end target. He said that state bodies which have surplus staff and cannot justify their budgets would be obliged to shed employees. “They will have to go,” he said.

Meanwhile, with the next Eurogroup summit looming on Monday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras and his team have been scrambling to complete a series of prior actions that are linked to the release of the next tranche of rescue funding for Greece, a sum of 1 billion euros. The main issue still pending relates to the fate of state defense firm EAS, with the likeliest scenario involving the company’s liquidation while in operation. It remains unclear whether the 600 or so employees expected to be laid off from EAS will count toward the dismissals required for this year.