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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-02-16

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] 3.5 pct. basic salary increase announced
  • [02] Opposition slams 'meagre' pay rises for 2007
  • [03] Greece backs EU membership for SE Europe

  • [01] 3.5 pct. basic salary increase announced

    The basic salary of public sector employees and functionaries, local government employees and employees of all the other public law legal entities, as well as the Armed Forces and Security Corps, will be increased by 3.5 percent, the national economy and finance ministry announced on Friday.

    According to a ministry announcement, remuneration will increase by an additional 1.1 percent due to maturation (changes in salary scale, salary promotions, etc.).

    Further, pensions paid by the public sector and by social insurance organisations following the public sector pension regime will increase by 4 percent.

    Under the government's incomes policy for 2007, teachers and professor would be offered the first tranches of a education premium worth 105 euros, while hospital staff would be given a 17.5 euros per month wage premium for the first six months of the year and another 35 euros per month in the second half of 2007.

    Security Corps and Armed Forces will be given an additional 2.0 pct increase this year and an 8.0 pct increase from next year, while veterinary staff will be given a raise in the bonus pay from 35 to 70 euros, starting March 1.

    The finance ministry, in an announcement said pay rises would total around 4.0 pct if included additional increases.

    Pensions will be given a 4.0 pct increase this year.

    [02] Opposition slams 'meagre' pay rises for 2007

    Main opposition PASOK on Friday slammed a 3.5% increase in public-sector base pay and a 4% increase in state pensions announced in a press release by Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis, accusing the government of redistributing income from the poor to the rich.

    "Following his favourite tactic, Mr. Alogoskoufis has chosen to make the announcement on a Friday afternoon in the hope that the meagre raises to wages and pensions will go unnoticed," said PASOK MP Vasso Papandreou, who is in charge of economic issues for the party's Parliamentary Council.

    "Workers and pensioners, however, are daily faced with a high cost of living and galloping price rises to products, fuel and services that whittle away their income," she said.

    According to the MP, in a bid to make the situation more palatable, Alogoskoufis had referred in his announcement to benefits received by only some public-sector staff, most of which had already been announced before.

    "By announcing wage policy through a press release, Mr. Alogoskoufis may have avoided questions but he cannot avoid the displeasure of the citizens. The policy of so-called reform of the economy that occurs by redistributing income from the many to the few no longer convinces anyone," she claimed.

    The pay rises also came under fire from the smaller opposition parties in Parliament, the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and the Coalition of the Left, of Movements and Ecology party (SYN).

    A KKE announcement said that workers in the private and public sector should reply to the government's "provocative incomes policy" by demanding a minimum wage of 1300 euros a month and a minimum pension of 1050 euros a month, as well as unemployment benefit for all jobless, without terms and conditions.

    SYN president Alekos Alavanos said the government was "offering crumbs that offended the dignity and the needs of public-sector workers and pensioners" and at the same time reneging on a promise to draw up a new pay scale, as requested by the civil servants' union ADEDY, as well as other promises.

    The General Confederation of Employees of Greece (GSEE), Greece's largest umbrella trade union group, said the low pay rise extended a period of severe austerity at a time when banks and businesses were making record profits.

    "The buying power of workers and pensioners has been drastically reduced by the uncontrolled increase in prices, leading families to excessive debt and greatly increasing poverty," GSEE President Yiannis Panagopoulos said.

    According to the ministry announcement, basic salaries in the broader public sector, the Armed Forces and security forces, will increase by 3.5 percent in 2007.

    Remuneration will increase by an additional 1.1 percent due to maturation (changes in salary scale, salary promotions, etc.), it added.

    Further, pensions paid by the public sector and by social insurance organisations following the public sector pension regime will increase by 4 percent.

    [03] Greece backs EU membership for SE Europe

    Greece's aspiration is to create necessary conditions so that southeastern Europe comprises a region of stability, peace, economic cooperation and growth in tandem with its participation in the European Union, "as it deserves", Greek President Karolos Papoulias said Friday in Bucharest, winding up a three-day state visit to Romania.

    Papoulias delivered a greeting on Friday morning to a Greek-Romanian business forum, while earlier he met with Romanian Prime Minister Calin Popescu-Tariceanu, with whom he had a discussion on bilateral relations in all sectors, with an emphasis on investments and trade, as well as on the major problems of the region. The meeting was also attended by Macedonia-Thrace Minister George Kalantzis, Deputy Development Minister Tassos Nerantzis and Deputy Economy Minister Petros Doukas.

    Addressing the Forum, Papoulias recalled that Greece has drafted and was implementing programmes for development cooperation with the countries of SE Europe and was also "contributing to the progress and economic growth of the region through the Greek Plan for the Reconstruction of the Balkans".

    He also stressed that Greece-based entrepreneurs were amongst the first to start up activities in Romania some 15 years ago, because "they believed in the abilities of the Romanian people and sought opportunities".

    Papoulias also described as significant the fact that prominent Greek businesspeople have entered the Romanian market, stressing that "this constitutes the best example of the respect and immense confidence the Greek business world has in the Romanian economy".

    Romania today is one of Greece's most significant trade partners, and vice-versa, while bilateral trade ties are estimated at nearly one billion euros, which Papoulias said could be improved now that Romania is an EU member-state.

    Greece ranks among the three biggest foreign investors in Romania, with invested capital exceeding three billion euros, whereas those investments have resulted in the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

    At present, seven Greek banks are active in Romania and, via a network of 270 branches, provide employment for 6,000 people, Papoulias continued. He also noted the equally significant presence of Greek construction companies that have undertaken major projects in Romania.

    Apart from his official talks with the Romanian prime minister and President Traian Basescu, Papoulias also paid courtesy visits to the 92-year-old Orthodox Patriarch of Romania, Theoktistos, and Bucharest Mayor Adrian Videanu.

    He was also due to meet with Romanian Senate president Nicolae Vacaroiu on Friday afternoon, before attending a concert by pianist Dora Bakopoulou and singer Elli Paspala, before departing on Friday evening for Athens.

    Later comments

    Speaking to Greek reporters at the end of his weeklong trip, Papoulias expressed satisfaction with results of his meetings, calling his tour "absolutely necessary" following the accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union on Jan. 1., 2007.

    He also emphasised that Athens, Sofia and Bucharest, which now constitute the Union's unofficial "Balkan core", must increase efforts to achieve goals outlined in the "Thessaloniki Agenda", namely, the EU accession of other western Balkan states.

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