A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday focused on the appointment of 15,000 people to public sector teaching jobs over the next three years, sharpening the government’s focus on hirings and handouts as pre-election tensions intensify.
The recruitments would be part of a joint three-year program by the Education Ministry and the Administrative Reform Ministry aimed at boosting the state education sector and honoring the leftist-led government’s pledges to focus on social policies after years of belt-tightening.
In a speech to ministers, Tsipras claimed that the bulk of the promises he made at the Thessaloniki International Fair in September have already been realized, referring in particular to the revocation of a new round of planned pension cuts in January.
The cuts were removed from the budget for next year after European auditors agreed that they were not necessary for Greece to hit budget targets.
Among new social welfare measures in the works are a 410-million-euro housing subsidy and a new law for protecting indebted homeowners which will eventually replace the so-called Katseli law. Tsipras also referred to the minimum wage, noting that an increase is to be voted on in late January.
Although all the renewed talk of handouts has stoked speculation about early elections, Tsipras suggested that polls would take place in September as scheduled and not before.
According to sources, during the meeting, he told his ministers that “we still have a lot of work to do” and called on them to intensify their efforts “with a horizon of nine months, until September 2019.”