Revision to shape up public sector

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis yesterday presented the conservative government’s proposals on revising the Constitution in a plan he says will help shape up the excessively large and costly public sector. Karamanlis told a meeting of New Democracy MPs that the government will push ahead with changes focusing on seven different areas. The constitutional revisions are a top issue for the reform-minded government, he added. The proposals put forth include allowing the operation of private universities and banning permanent job status for newly hired civil servants. The recommendations will be voted on by lawmakers after the next national elections, scheduled to take place in March 2008. Other propositions submitted by Karamanlis include introducing measures that will help protect the environment and the country’s shrinking forest lands. Greece has trailed its European Union peers in adopting greener policies and has been criticized for failing to implement measures that experts believe can also help spur economic growth. The New Democracy leader called on PASOK to respond with its own proposals but the Socialists replied by saying the Constitution is being used to shift attention away from Greece’s real problems, such as the economy. «He (Karamanlis) started the discussion about the revision of the Constitution for communication purposes,» said PASOK Spokesman Nikos Athanassakis.