A rift broke in the Papademos coalition government when one minister rejected the bill proposed by another minister. Further the minister assures, he would not even vote in favor during a parliament voting. Transportation Minister Makis Voridis (Nea Dimocratia) tabled a bill liberalizing the taxi ownership licences. The bill foresees among others, no new cab licenses in the Attica region (Athens). Alternate Defense Minister Yiannis Ragousis (PASOK), a former Transportation Minister, disagreed with Voridis’ bill, arguing the the proposed reforms protect the interests of certain groups. That is the interests of taxi owners in Athens who had strongly reacted to new cab licences in the Greek capital.
“Ragousis, who argued that the proposed reforms protect the narrow interests of certain groups, released a series of emails exhanged with the troika — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Intenational Monetary Fund – to prove that European and IMF officials had approved a previous draft bill carrying his signature.
Based on calculation taking into account population and environmental criteria, the new bill does not foresee fresh cab licenses in Attica, though new permits will be issued elsewhere around Greece. Licenses are also expected to be issued for vehicles seating five to eight people which will not carry meters.
Speaking on Skai on Friday, Ragousis spoke of the “politics of exception” and noted that the truck drivers will be up next with demands for their sector to be exempted from total liberalization.
Responding to Ragousis, Transport Minister Makis Voridis noted that the new bill’s basic principles have already been approved by the troika, adding that on an ethical level «it would be preferable to leave any discussion with the troika to the minister in charge.»
Also speaking on Skai on Friday, the general secretary of the SATA taxi owners’ union, Constantinos Dimos, said that the proposed draft bill will streamline Greek policy with the rest of Europe.” (Kathimerini)
The bill is expected to be submitted to the Parliament in the near future.
As Greece heads towards ealry elections end of April and the parliament is expected to close on April 6, the new government and parliament might be the ones that will deal with the taxi bill.
Opening of closed porfessions like taxis and trucks has been one of the adamant demands of the Troika but the Greek governments are slow in proceeding with such bills due to strong reactions incl several strikes of powerful trade unions.