Cutbacks in public sector

As part of its plan to get the economy back on track, the government will make substantial cuts in the public sector, Interior Minister Yiannis Ragousis said yesterday following a meeting with Bank of Greece Governor Giorgos Provopoulos. With the government looking to slash spending wherever possible as part of the effort to achieve economic recovery, Ragousis said that substantial savings would be made in the public service. «There will be major cutbacks where they really need to be made,» he said. «We have already cut out some waste but we are also conducting a general housekeeping that is absolutely necessary.» Ragousis did not go into detail about what types of cuts would be made or which areas would be targeted but he made it clear that any actions taken by the government will be directly linked to the poor state of the economy. «We will make changes that have an immediate and clear connection with the economy and the fiscal crisis that the country is facing,» said the minister. «However, the changes will also be made with the aim of providing citizens with better-quality services from the state, which we must change at all cost.» Provopoulos said that the reforms in the public sector would be «very important in helping the economy recover from its problems.» PASOK has already announced that it intends to introduce stricter rules for the hiring of personnel in the public sector and moved quickly after coming to power in October to scrap European Union-funded apprenticeship programs, known by the French term «Stage,» that had given more than 20,000 people temporary jobs in the public service. Meanwhile, the government announced yesterday the appointment of four more general secretaries to its ministries. The appointments have taken longer than usual because of the decision to accept applications online. PASOK wanted to make the hiring system more transparent but questions may be asked about why three of yesterday’s four appointees have a long history of service in the socialist party.

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