Civil servants dismissal set to dominate talks with troika in Athens
Troika officials are starting their next review in Greece today. According to Kathimerini, the Greek government will seek more time from its lenders to decide which civil servants it will sack as a result of merging and shutting down dozens of public organizations. Although Athens is committed to the agreed target of sacking 4000 public sector workers by the end of the year, it wants to avoid stirring up union opposition during what is expected to be a prosperous summer for the tourism sector. Figures so far show that between July 2012 and March this year, only 99 civil servants have been fired. However, the data also show that inspections for corruption and other offenses in the public sector have been stepped up. Since last year, criminal charges have been raised against 500 civil servants, almost as much as over the previous four years. Another 2,127 cases are currently being heard. Among the other issues to be addressed by Greece and the troika inspection teams are tax collection, value-added tax in the food service sector and the privatization programme.