Thursday

6th Oct 2022

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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. Thousands of Hungarian students and teachers protest
  2. Swedish MEP cuts hair mid-speech to support Iran women
  3. Danish general election called for 1 November
  4. Slovenia legalises gay marriage, adoption
  5. Russia's stand-in EU ambassador reprimanded on Ukraine
  6. France warns over incoming eighth Covid wave
  7. EU adds Anguilla, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos to tax-haven blacklist
  8. Czechs warn joint-nationality citizens in Russia on mobilisation

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe
  2. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  3. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  4. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  5. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”

Latest News

  1. EU wants to see US list on Russia financing of politicians
  2. Putin's twin aim: to break Ukraine and West's consensus
  3. Putin's diamond firm off the hook in EU sanctions
  4. The Iranian regime's expiration date
  5. Let's end Bulgaria and Romania's 11-year Schengen purgatory
  6. EU debates new pandemic-type loans to deal with crisis
  7. MEPs condemn EU Commission 'leniency' on Hungary
  8. Czech EU presidency wants asylum pledges to be secret

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us