Monday, 22 March 2010

German poll confirms anti-bailout position
An FT/Harris poll of European countries on a bailout for Greece yesterday confirmed overwhelming opposition from Germans to the idea. Sixty percent of Germans were opposed, while only about 20 percent were supportive. About a third of Germans felt Greece should temporarily leave the eurozone, while 40 percent felt Germany would itself be better off outside the single currency. In answer to the question, "Would you support your government helping Greece cope with its budget deficit?" the most positive country in the poll was Spain, with just over 40 percent.

Tenured position in the public sector 'not a given'
Greek Interior Minister Yannis Ragousis says in an interview with To Vima that civil servants with court condemnations for bribery will in future be dismissed from the public sector, thanks to a new legislative amendment.He also wants to discuss and draft a new ethical code that will introduce "substantial procedures" to weed out bad apples.

Ragousis is the second cabinet member to suggest that Pasok will take a different attitude to public tenure. Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos had dropped a cryptic comment to that effect in an interview with Ta Nea earlier this year.

Ragousis also said that he has submitted to parliament a long-awaited bill to reduce the country's municipalities by two thirds. The so-called "Kallikratis" plan was among Pasok's electoral promises and is designed to reduce the cost of public administration. The government wants to vote the bill into law during May, giving the interior ministry time to implement it well ahead of local elections in November. It would reduce the country's 1,000-odd municipalities to 370, and get rid of, or conflate, over 4,000 boards of directors of municipal companies.

In the spirit of economy, Ragousis says, the government has reduced this year's contract workers by 35 percent, while the hiring freeze, announced earlier this year, has spared the public payroll 35,000 new employees.

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