Wednesday

22nd Nov 2017

Greek civil servants block troika from entering finance ministry

Inspectors from the so-called troika of the EU, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund returned to Athens on Thursday (29 September) to review the Greek government’s austerity work only to find staff from seven key ministries blockading their way.

Furious at fresh pay cuts and mass lay-offs, civil servants occupied the ministries of finance, development, labour, justice, health, agriculture and interior affairs, according to local reports.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Social unrest has spread to the finance ministry itself (Photo: John D. Carnessiotis, Athens, Greece)

Finance minister Evangelos Venizelos was scheduled to meet with the troika inspectors, but was forced to meet at the deputy prime minister’s offices when his own building was inaccessible.

Some of the occupations are to continue on Friday, with the sit-in at the Hellenic Statistical Authority due to continue through Sunday.

The union representing public-sector workers, Adedy, said the staff are engaging in direct action against "the barbaric new measures which have been decided and are being decided.”

Further social unrest was seen on the streets of the capital, as state employees and taxi drivers mounted protests in the centre of the city, while students skirmished with riot police in the country’s second city, Thessaloniki.

Despite the tense atmosphere, once the troika and Venizelos found a place to talk, their meeting was reportedly "positive and constructive."

The government has announced an acceleration of salary reductions in the public sector, with legislation to be presented to parliament next week that will also involve a limitation on bonuses paid out.

The inspectors - who left Greece suddenly on 2 September out of frustration at the government’s slowness in delivering on the austerity and structural adjustment demanded by international lenders - must decide whether Athens has made sufficient effort towards these targets to be awarded the latest, sixth tranche of EU-IMF bail-out cash, worth some €8 billion.

Without the funds, the government is expected to run out of money by mid-October.

The schedule for the release of the tranche is tight. Talks between the troika mission to Greece and the government are not expected to be finished ahead of a meeting of EU finance ministers on Monday in Luxembourg.

It is understood that for Greece to be given the green light, the government must have passed the new labour reserve system under which employees see wages slashed ahead of likely lay-offs, a transformation of the public-sector pay system and completed the draft budget for next year.

Prime Minister George Papandreou is due to meet with French leader Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday and a special cabinet meeting has been announced for Sunday.

Greek police protest troika, German and French embassies

The very people who have been charged with protecting the Greek parliament and politicians from furious crowds and who have even been criticised by Amnesty International for their heavy-handedness, the Greek police, have themselves now begun to protest EU-IMF austerity.

Troika to return to Athens next week

Troika inspectors are to return to Athens “early next week”, the European Commission and the Greek government announced on Tuesday night following something of a breakthrough in discussions between the two sides, but there is still no deal on the dispersal of the latest round of bail-out cash to the heavily indebted country.

Greece will not meet deficit targets this year or in 2012

The Greek finance ministry on Sunday conceded that the government will not be able to meet the deficit reduction targets imposed by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund for this year or next.

News in Brief

  1. December euro summit still on, Tusk confirms
  2. EU calls for end to Kenya election crisis
  3. Report: Israeli PM invited to meet EU ministers
  4. French banks close Le Pen accounts
  5. Commission relaxes rules on labelling free range eggs
  6. Commission issues €34m fine over car equipment cartel
  7. Estonian presidency 'delighted' with emissions trading vote
  8. Mladic found guilty of genocide and war crimes

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  2. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  3. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  4. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC to French President Macron: We Oppose All Contact With Far-Right & Far-Left
  6. EPSUWith EU Pillar of Social Rights in Place, Time Is Ticking for Commission to Deliver
  7. ILGA EuropeBan on LGBTI Events in Ankara Must Be Overturned
  8. Bio-Based IndustriesBio-Based Industries: European Growth is in Our Nature!
  9. Dialogue PlatformErdogan's Most Vulnerable Victims: Women and Children
  10. UNICEFEuropean Parliament Marks World Children's Day by Launching Dialogue With Children
  11. European Jewish CongressAntisemitism in Europe Today: Is It Still a Threat to Free and Open Society?
  12. Counter BalanceNew Report: Juncker Plan Backs Billions in Fossil Fuels and Carbon-Heavy Infrastructure

Latest News

  1. Mali blames West for chaos in Libya
  2. Orban stokes up his voters with anti-Soros 'consultation'
  3. Commission warns Italy over high debt level
  4. Mladic found guilty for Bosnia genocide and war crimes
  5. Uber may face fines in EU for keeping data breach secret
  6. EU counter-propaganda 'harms' relations, Russia says
  7. The EU's half-hearted Ostpolitik
  8. Glyphosate: 1.3 million EU citizens call for ban