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89 measures separate Greece from the payment of the financial aid

10 October 2012 / 18:10:40  GRReporter
5514 reads

Victoria Mindova

89 measures related to reducing spending and implementing structural reforms in public administration separate Greece from the payment of the next tranche of financial aid. This has become clear from the statements of Commissioner for Economic Affairs in the European Union Olli Rehn who has confirmed that the financial aid of 31.5 billion euro is expected to be paid in November. The condition for this remains the completion of the preliminary actions associated with the fiscal adjustment and the structural reforms by Greece and the confirmation of the implementation of these actions by Eurogroup and the International Monetary Fund. Some of these measures are:

- Voting on the reduction of the salaries of uniformed officers and employees in the health system by an average of 12% of their current salaries

- Establishing a statutory minimum wage

- Liberalizing the transport, energy, pharmaceutical and other sectors by removing the restrictions that prevent competition

- Establishing a ceiling on prescribing drugs from any doctor in order to reduce the cost of medicines subsidized by the National Organization for Health Care Provision

- Eliminating the taxes and fees to third parties that are not directly related to the increase in the state treasury revenue

- Making an inventory of state-owned property

- Announcing the appointments, dismissals and job vacancies in the public sector

- Merging all health funds in the National Organization for Health Care Provision

- Appointing a permanent chief secretary to the Ministry of Finance, who will supervise the tax revenues and will have a five-year term

- Changing the management of all regional tax departments unable to achieve the goals set relating to control, inspections and penalty fees

- Uploading on the Internet key parameters for the achievement of goals by regional tax offices

- Establishing an Internal Investigation Department in the tax service

- Improving the information systems in the public sector

- Cancelling the compulsory presence of a lawyer when signing title deeds

- Cancelling the minimum wage for the services of lawyers working for a fee

- Computerizing all health facilities in the country

- Simplifying the introduction of generic drugs in the Greek market

- Providing third party with access in the energy market

- Facilitating the procedures for the start of the photovoltaic "Helios" project

- Reducing the outstanding tax cases in the courts by half

- Solving the problem of overdue obligations to pension funds

- Eliminating the minimum wage of energy inspectors

- Introducing an automatic control system accounting the payments made by the public sector to

specific beneficiaries

- Implementing the Code of Practice on the Public Procurement Agency

- Submitting a bill to reform the tax system

- Improving the utilization of EU subsidies

- Applying the law on the activities of the Public Procurement Agency

These and a number of other changes were recorded in the first bailout agreement Greece signed with the international lenders in the spring of 2010. Since then, some steps to fulfil certain tasks have been made but very few of them have been completed. Upon leaving the Prime Minister's office after Antonis Samaras’ meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras made it clear that the aid to Greece would most probably be granted with a political decision. This means that Brussels and Berlin have not believed from the outset that Greece will be able to vote and put into practice the 89 steps by the end of the month, but the money would still come, local analysts comment.

The second most powerful party in parliament, SYRIZA, counter opposes the coming reforms and totally resists the fiscal adjustment programme imposed by the lenders’ mission. Radical left deputy Rena Dourou commented on the developments for GRReporter, "The last meeting of eurozone finance ministers of Eurogroup has made it clear that the policy pursued cannot provide support for economic changes. It discussed neither the issue of stimulating the economic growth, nor that of maintaining the labour relations. Quite the opposite - everything focused on the 89 actions that the Greek government must fulfil by 18 October in order to receive only a part of the financial aid." Dourou stresses that the aid may be paid under particularly vague terms set by both the International Monetary Fund and Europe in the face of Olli Rehn and Jean-Claude Juncker.

"What we have seen so far is that Europe is blackmailing us for more fiscal cuts and no measures of economic growth," the left deputy said. She stressed that the Greeks should send a very strong message to both the Troika of lenders and the governing troika of the parties supporting this government to change the policy imposed by the bailout agreement. She described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the leader of fiscal cut policies that lead to an increase in debt and a deeper crisis.

Tags: EconomyMarketsTroikaFiscal adjustmentGreeceCrisisSYRIZARena Dourou
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