With Greece’s international lenders looking over his shoulder and pressing him to meet fiscal targets or face a cutoff in funding, Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told key cabinet members in the two-party coalition to speed up structural reforms in the state sector.
Meeting at his Maximos Mansion headquarters, Samaras, the New Democracy Conservative leader and his Deputy Prime Minister, PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos, met with Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras, and the ministers of Interior Yiannis Michelakis, Administrative Reform Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Education Constantinos Arvanitopoulos, Development Costis Hadzidakis and Health Adonis Georgiadis.
Priority number one was firing as many workers as possible with some 25,000 to be put into a so-called mobility scheme and paid 75 percent of their already reduced salaries for up to eight months and either put into another job or fired. Another 4,000 are going to be fired outright, mostly those in lower pay grades, such as janitors, school crossing guards, school nurses, municipal police officers and teachers, while Parliament workers and high-paid managers are exempted.
The meeting addressed progress made so far in plans to streamline the public administration with the induction of thousands of civil servants into a so-called mobility scheme where they will get reduced pay ahead of transfer or dismissal.
A plan for restructuring of Hellenic Defense Systems (EAS), the Hellenic Vehicles Industry (ELVO) and the Larco mining company, was also on the agenda. Samaras reportedly said his first target is cutting education, although hospitals will also be closed or become health centers.
The Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) okayed the release of 8.1 billion euros ($10.46 billion) in loans as part of a second bailout that will total $173 billion but said future monies are dependent on Greece making more reforms and imposing more harsh austerity measures.