Bill for reopening ERT to go to House on Monday

A draft bill foreseeing the reinstatement of former state broadcaster ERT, which was abruptly closed down in June 2013 by the previous conservative-led administration, is expected to be presented in Parliament on Monday even as Greek government officials brace for tough discussions with eurozone peers on a proposed economic reform program.

Officials have insisted that the rehiring of some 2,000 dismissed ERT workers and the reopening of the broadcaster will not burden state coffers as the hirings fall within budgeted public sector recruitments this year and the operation will be paid for through license fees.

The draft legislation foresees the return of sacked workers, a financial inspection of NERIT (the institution that replaced ERT) and “the smooth transition to ERT [from NERIT] with the resolution of legal and technical problems,” according to government sources.

The operation of the new channel will be funded by license fees charged through electricity bills, though poor households that qualify for reduced electricity charges will be exempt from those fees, the sources said.

It remains unclear what will become of some 500 employees who moved from ERT to NERIT after the former closed down.

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