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In a battle for the next tranche

27 April 2013 / 13:04:19  GRReporter
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Today, the parliamentary finance committee has started to discuss the bill for the next tranche under the memorandum. The discussion began in a tense atmosphere between the government and opposition, mainly because of cuts in the public sector. It will continue tomorrow in the plenary hall and is expected to finish late at night with a roll-call vote. The bill was introduced by the Ministry of Finance on Friday afternoon, breaking the rules of parliament, according to which no bills are accepted on the last working day of the week.

The leadership of parliament agreed to push the bill forward and it will be discussed at two long meetings, which will last at least 10 hours each, since the government made it clear that it should be voted at any price by Sunday evening, because of the meeting of the Euro Working Group on Monday, 28 April.

In order to avoid the possibility that the bill will not be adopted, the government has included all the provisions of the Troika in a single article, and the second article defines the law’s entry into force. Opposition parties disagreed on both the content and emergency procedure for its advance, and pointed out that the provisions have been agreed with the Troika for weeks.

The main points

Emergency measures to enforce the following laws: 4046/2012, 4093/2012 and 4127/2013

In addition to liabilities to tax authorities and social security funds, as well as the special property tax that will bring an additional 3 billion euro to the Treasury, the main points of the bill also include lay-offs of civil servants – this was the main requirement for the approval of the 8 billion euro tranche.

According to the bill, state institutions with closed positions will lay off employees who have permanent contracts. It is a necessary requirement, which is based on agreements between the government and the Troika for lay-offs of 15,000 state employees, namely 4,000 by the end of this year, and 11,000 by the end of 2014.

A national coordinator against corruption

The bill also provides for the establishment of a national coordinator in the fight against corruption, since this is crucial for the restoration of the confidence between the state and citizens, the effective functioning of institutions, as well as the improvement of the business climate.

This provision should increase both local and foreign investments, thanks to the reduced corruption in transactions with the public sector. As highlighted in the report on Greece, corruption is a serious problem, because, on the one hand it reduces the confidence in public institutions and the level of services they offer to the public, and, on the other hand, it burdens the national economy.

The national coordinator will prepare a plan for a national strategy to combat corruption and will supplement it with measures and activities in ministries and sectors. It will monitor the implementation of the plan and its compliance and intervene in cases of violation. Its jurisdiction will include the coordination of all services and sectors that are included in the strategy for the fight against corruption. The coordinator will be independent in the exercise of its duties.

The Commission

A Coordinating Commission against Corruption will be established, which will be chaired by the National Coordinator. It will be joined by the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, the Secretary of the Ministry of Administrative Reform and e-government, the Secretary of the Ministry of Development, the General Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Transparency and Human Rights, the Secretary of the Office for Combating Economic Crimes, the head of the financial information department to the Ministry of Finance, the public prosecutor for the fight against corruption, the head of the Anti-Money Laundering, Counter-Terrorist Financing and Source of Funds Investigation Authority, the Ombudsman, the Chief administrative inspector and the Director of the economic police.

Statements of parties

SYRIZA accused the government of disrespect for parliament because of the introduction of the express bill in one article. "Attempts to apply new measures for cuts in wages and pensions show that the government has a secret agenda that has been agreed with the Troika and will try to implement it in the coming months, with catastrophic consequences for the society and economy," said the party and asked for cancellation of the policy of the memorandum, claiming that it seriously damages democracy.

Parliamentary representative of the Independent Greeks party Notis Marias said: "Parties supporting the government have prepared a memorandum that buries development, imposes new taxes and thousands of lay-offs in the public sector and destroys massively liberal professions."

The Communist Party argued that the bill was an attack against people and reveals the objectives of the government policy, the European Union and plutocracy. It makes the tax on real estate permanent, burdens households with cuts in wages and pensions, increases overdue "liabilities", supports monopolies and condemns thousands of state employees and freelancers to unemployment.

Tags: Memorandum tranche Troika bill cuts in the public sector anti-corruption
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