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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-02-14

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Implementation of public sector reform plan a government priority
  • [02] 1.5 bln euros in assets seized from tax evaders‏ in 2012

  • [01] Implementation of public sector reform plan a government priority


    The government is focusing on three crucial axes for implementing the public sector reform plan as the arrival of EC-ECB-IMF troika representatives in March draws near, government sources said on Thursday.

    According to government sources, the first axis concerns accelerating the implementation of measures for the suspension of 2,000 civil servants and, subsequently, a mobility programme. Certain unresolved issues with these measures are to be overcome in the next few days, after which the administrative reform ministry will announce the vacancies that need to be filled in the public sector. There are estimated to more than 10,000 such vacancies, mainly in the public order ministry, social insurance funds, and healthcare.

    The second axis concerns the government ministries' organization charts. The government council, chaired by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, convened at noon on Thursday to approve the new organization charts in four more government ministries, following the ministries of administrative reform and environment.

    The ministries of justice, Macedonia-Thrace, labour and agriculture will see their administrative structure cut by 60 pct in a bid to reduce costs, while the charts of other five ministries will be approved next week. The goal is to reinforce the role of ministries and their services to the public and to contribute to efforts aimed at boosting entrepreneurship.

    The third axis concerns the removal of civil servants found guilty of breach of faith, are deemed otherwise unsuitable for office or have been unjustifiably absent from work. Only 800 of the roughly 4,000 civil servants found guilty of breach of faith were removed last year. The problem was made worse by delays in the issue of decisions by disciplinary councils. The government's goal is to place those employees on suspension in order to thwart the troika's demand for mass dismissals.

    Problems of corruption by public-sector employees who have violated the civil servants' code were discussed by Public Administration Inspector General Leandros Rakintzis, Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis and Interior Minister Evripidis Stylianidis in a meeting they had a few days ago.

    [02] 1.5 bln euros in assets seized from tax evaders‏ in 2012

    AMNA/ Greek authorities on Thursday said that the state has in the last year seized a total of 1.5 billion euros from individuals with large overdue tax debt to the state, both in assets and in sums taken directly from their bank accounts. Of these amounts, 1.4 billion euros were seized by tax agencies and the remaining 100 million euros by the country's financial crime agencies. A finance ministry report said that these seizures of assets and bank accounts were made possible by a new law on overdue debt to the state.

    More analytically, the report said that major tax debtors – with debts exceeding 100,000 euros - were the focus of tax authority inspections last year, with confiscations for these tax evaders totaling 1.16 billion euros.

    Confiscation of savings accounts: Tax authorities have asked banks to confiscate assets worth 350 million euros owned by 742 large tax debtors, of which 62 are the largest debtors. The amounts seized from these 62 largest debtors exceeded 100,000 euros, for an equivalent amount of debt, with the total sum of the confiscations totaling 320 million euros.

    Confiscation of assets: Tax authorities confiscated real estate assets and other assets (vehicles, airplanes, ships, etc) worth 1.05 billion euros from 12,136 individuals with large debts to the state. Of these, 4,245 owed more than 100,000 euros to tax agencies, with confiscations for this category totaling 841.3 million euros.

    "Major tax evaders will pay their share. This has already begun," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said, adding that "tax evasion must end. It is inconceivable that wage and pension earners should continue bearing the burden of fiscal adjustment, while others avoid paying their taxes. I repeat that large-scale tax evaders will pay, while authorities will show greater flexibility for those unable to service their debt obligations".

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