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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-09-22

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] PM to meet Merkel in Berlin next week
  • [02] Climbing meeting on Meteora rock towers
  • [03] More austerity measures announced
  • [04] No public transport in Athens on Thursday
  • [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines
  • [06] Gov't releases figures on public sector hirings

  • [01] PM to meet Merkel in Berlin next week

    AMNA / Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel next week in Berlin, where they will discuss the latest developments in the Greek debt crisis.

    The meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 27, was announced late Wednesday night by German government spokesman Steffen Siebert.

    The two leaders will make statements to the press after their talks, which will be followed by a working dinner at the Chancellery. AMNA

    According to Siebert, the talks will focus on "the major issues, which is a given fact". AMNA

    He said the two leaders will discuss the state of the Greek economy, the efforts to streamline the budget and the materialisation of the fiscal adjustment programme.

    Papandreou will be in Berlin at the invitation of the BDI, the umbrella organisation of German industry and industry-related service providers, and is due to address the BDI annual conference on Tuesday, which will also be attended by Merkel.

    [02] Climbing meeting on Meteora rock towers

    The 23rd Nationwide Climbing meeting took place last weekend at rock towers of Meteora (meaning: suspended in the air) in central Greece. At a close distance from the city of Kalabaka, Meteora is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and is home to one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in the country, second only to Mount Athos in the northern prefecture of Halkidiki. The monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars, at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Peneios River and Pindus Mountains.

    [03] More austerity measures announced

    /The Greek government late Wednesday announced another package of tough austerity measures after a marathon Cabinet meeting that, according to a written statement by government spokesman Elias Mossialos, "lead to achievement of the 2011 and 2012 fiscal targets and enable completion of the implementation of the support (EU-IMF bailout) programme for the Greek economy up to 2014".

    After a Cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister George Papandreou in parliament, Mossialos announced in a written statement six quantified measures.

    First, the tax-free ceiling is further reduced to 5,000 euros, which according to Mossialos is the eurozone average.amna

    Second, he said the new civil service salary scale will be 'uniform, meritocratic, transparent and fair", at the same time "giving incentives for increasing the productivity and performance of public administration and its employees".

    Third, pensions over 1,200 euros per month will be cut by 20 percent for the amount exceeding the 1,200 euro mark. Also, pensions of retirees under 55 years of age will be cut by 40 percent for amounts exceeding 1,000 euros until the retiree reaches 55 years of age.

    Fourth, 30,000 employees in the core and wider public sector will be placed in "reserve labour" by the end of 2011 through what Mossialos called "meritocratic and transparent criteria under the monitoring of the ASEP (civil service hiring examinations board)" so that "the real redundant personnel may be pinpointed". Mossialos said this affects approximately 3 percent of the public sector and wider public sector employees.amna

    Fifth, the Cabinet also took a series of decisions on advancing structural changes, and chiefly privatisations, the opening of 'closed-shop' professions and the job market, and the restructuring of agencies of the wider public sector, Mossialos' written statement said.amna

    Sixth, the national taxation system that is to be voted in parliament by the end of October will "put a permanent end to a series of injustices and inequalities that have existed for decades, which undermine the country's social and developmental cohesion".

    [04] No public transport in Athens on Thursday

    AMNA/Public transport will come to a standstill on Thursday as the employees' unions of the Athens Metro, ISAP urban trains, trams, buses and trolleys, which serve hundreds of thousands of commuters daily, have called a 24-hour strike.

    The strikers are protesting the reserve labor system planned by the government, explaining that the number of personnel in their companies has already been reduced drastically due to transfers of employees carried out in the context of the government's reorganisation of Athens' urban transport companies.

    According to sources, Thursday's strike is "only the beginning", as the unions will be meeting again to decide rolling 24-hour strikes.

    Meanwhile, it was learned that taxi owners were mulling joining in the strike.

    [05] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Thursday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The government's new package of harsh measures announced on Wednesday, dominated the headlines on Thursday.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "Parliamentary probe committee into how we reached the Memorandum".

    AVGHI: "Government, troika send Greek society to the firing squad".

    AVRIANI: "Sacrifices on the troika's (IMF,ECB,EC) altar, meanwhile we are heading to uncontrollable bankruptcy".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Raid without mercy - Prime Minister George Papandreou and Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos nowhere to be found".

    ELEFTHEROTYPIA: "Tax (on incomes) from 350 euros per month!".

    ESTIA: "Memories from the past - The 1931 world economic crisis".

    ETHNOS: "Salary earners and pensioners in a vortex ".

    IMERISSIA: "Storm of measures - 3.2 billion euros cutbacks per year".

    KATHIMERINI: "First wave of shocking measures".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Layoffs and new drastic cutbacks in incomes".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Thousands of people shouted out on Wednesday in Syntagma Square that they will not pay the surtaxes".

    TA NEA: "Salary earners and pensioners on the sacrificial altar".

    VRADYNI: "They are demolishing the pensions and seizing the people's real estate properties".

    [06] Gov't releases figures on public sector hirings

    ANA-MPA/The administrative reform ministry on Wednesday unveiled figures that it says refutes allegations that have appeared in media reports, according to which roughly 25,000 employees were "hired in the public sector through the back door".

    According to detailed figures, the hirings made in 2010 and 2011 concern 7,385 people (5,190 in 2010 and 2,195 in 2011), compared with roughly 80,000 employees who retired during that same period.

    In 2009 the contract workers were roughly 120,000 compared with 35,000 today which corresponds to a 70 pct reduction.

    Also, since 2009 the overall number of public sector employees was reduced by roughly 200,000 people and the government has frozen more than 9,000 appointments of permanent personnel despite of the fact that they are meeting the criteria set by the Supreme Council for Civil Personnel Selection (ASEP) or the responsible agencies.

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