Monday, 8 February 2010

Worth reading today

G7 tries to ease fears over Greek contagion
Financial Times/Kathimerini: The unfolding debt drama in Greece, which is now spreading to Spain and Portugal, was among the top agenda items at the G7 summit over the weekend. The fear was that Greece's loss of creditworthiness due to excessive debt would spread to Spain and Portugal, and destabilise the eurozone. Greece received statements of confidence and support from the US and France. German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble was stern, in keeping with his country's official attitude to Greece during the crisis. Not following the rules over a long period results in a comeuppance, he said.

Tax measures to be announced by Friday was reporting that a cabinet meeting tomorrow or on Friday would approve final tax measures to be announced by the end of the week and voted into law before the end of the month. Social security reforms discussed in an inner cabinet meeting yesterday are expected to be announced tomorrow. The government's new income policy and pension reforms are part of what Prime Minister Yiorgos Papandreou plans to present in Brussels on Thursday at a European Union summit. Civil servants and customs officers plan to strike on Wednesday over a public hiring freeze and wage freeze announced on February 2 by Prime Minister Yiorgos Papandreou, and may be joined by others. (In Greek).

EU disunity is making the economic crisis worse
Tony Barber's Brussels Blog: "There is no common approach visible in the fiscal emergency unfolding in Greece, Portugal and Spain. This crisis cries out for more vigorous action from the eurogroup, the body that brings together finance ministers from the 16-nation eurozone. For the sake of calming financial markets, it demands clarity from eurozone governments about what they plan to do. Instead, all the markets hear is that eurozone leaders are determined not to involve the International Monetary Fund, but don’t want to give any financial assistance themselves to Greece. From the markets’ point of view, this is not exactly reassuring."

Tractors remain on the highways Hardcore farmers' unions in Greece were to meet today in Larissa to decide on how to continue to exert pressure on the government for an extra-curricular subsidy. They are seeking a meeting with Agricultural Development Minister Christina Batzeli tomorrow, and have decided to maintain a dozen roadblocks, reports. (In Greek)

Benefits above salary to cost state over 6.5bn this year
Eleftherotypia daily newspaper reports that the Greek government will spend more than 6.5 billion euros this year paying out benefits above salary to civil servants and the public sector payroll in general. This does not include overtime, memberships on committees and travel expenses. Finance Minister Yiorgos Papakonstantinou said these benefits will be cut by ten percent, which amounts to an estimated four percent of the public wage bill.

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