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Third Austerity Package brought to Greek Parliament; Measures till the End of Time

The third austerity measures package – commonly called “Third Memorandum” of 13.5 billion euro, was brought to Greek Parliament with the signatures of all government ministers on Monday afternoon. The relevant committee of the Parliament will discuss the bill tomorrow Tuesday as of 11 a.m.. The bill will be discussed at the plenary of the Parliament on Wednesday, while the voting will take place the same day, traditionally at midnight. An additional voting will take place on Sunday (after midnight) on the Budget 2013.

The bill contains 150 measures, that is new spending cuts and euphemistically called ‘strusctural reforms that will turn upside down the life of every Greek with incredible cuts in wages and pensions, sharp cuts in health care and social welfare benefits, cuts in allowances, overturning of any labour rights, utilities price increases but also opening of closed professions, only to mention a few.

According to To VIMA the savings will be:

*Restructure of public sector 719 million euro

*Municipalities 210 million euro

*Wages, bonuses and allowances cuts 1.497 billion euro

*Pensions, increase of retirement age 5,475 billion euro

*Cuts in social welfare 307 billion euro

* Health care sector 1.113 billion ευρώ

*Defence spending (closure of military camps, cancellation of new armament deals etc) 406 million euro

*Education (universities & technical colleges mergers, reducing funding in sports and culture 133 million euro

*Cut sin state-run enterprises 495 million euro

*New taxation system (cancellation of tax free amount, tax hikes in tobacco products, tax hike in the interests rates from bank deposits from 10% to 15% etc)  3.89 billion euro.
 
Cuts, Cuts, Cuts

230 pages  that will leave millions of households with a minimum income enough  just to cover basic needs. According to leaked information main changes will be:

  • Cuts in main and supplementary pensions 5% for 1,000-1,500 euro, 10% for 1,5001-2,000 euro and 15% for pensions in more than 2,000 euro.
  • Increase of retirement age from 65 to 67.
  • Social welfare benefits (EKAS) for low-pensioners only for those over 65 years old.
  • Cuts for special payrolls 2% for wages up to 1,000 euro and up to 35% for more than 4,000 euro monthly salary. Retrospective as of 1. August 2012.
  • Up to 40% salary cuts for employees of state-run enterprises and municipalities.
  • Abolition of Christmas/Eastern & Vacation bonuses to wages of civil servants and pensioners.
  • Cuts in several allowances of civil servants.
  • Increase of working hours from 36.5 hours per week to 40 hours per week for civil servants.
  • Decreases in overtime payments
  • Reductions in pensions for disable.
  • Reductions in jobless allowances, i.e. seasonal workers
  • Reduction in social welfare spending
  • Hiring scheme 1:5 until 2015

Cuts in health sector will leave thousands if not millions without sufficient health care:

The bill foresees among others: Reducng health services for uninsured (25% of Greeks are without job, while uninsured labour blooms), reducing medicine from official lists, reducing spending for health care cost (medical services and drugs)

In addition a new taxation system will raise taxes for low and medium incomes and reduce taxes for the rich.

Parliament Voting

Despite junior coalition government partner Democratic Left insisting in not voting in favor of the labour rights ‘reforms, and some defiant MPs from partner PASOK and PM Samaras’ Nea Dimocratia, the bill is expected to pass with 154-155 votes.

The bill that will specifies our lives for the next decades needs a simple majority of 151 votes to be accepted.

The spending cuts and structural reforms are a precondition for Greece to receive the bailout tranche of 31.5 billion euro. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said recently that the country has money until November 16th. The billions that will come with the bailout tranche will be spent for the recapitalization of the banks and by the state to pay outstanding debts to suppliers.

Under time pressure Greek government is pushing for the bill to pass through the Parliament and thus before the Eurogroup meeting on November 12th, where the eurozone finance ministers were allegedly to give the green light for the disbursement of the 31.5 billion euro.

No Tranche at Eurogroup meeting?

However on Monday evening, REUTERS reported that a relevant decision at the upcoming Eurogroup meeting is unlikely.

A deal on keeping Greece afloat and providing more bailout money for the near-bankrupt state is unlikely to be reached next week when euro zone finance ministers meet in Brussels, a senior EU official said on Monday to Reuters.

The official, who was attending the meeting of G20 finance ministers in Mexico City, said the euro zone still had to find a formula to make the Greek debt sustainable and finance it and that several countries, including Germany, also had to discuss the matter with their parliaments.

“The November 12 meeting will not be the final stage. We΄re not so much under the gun as it may seem,” the official said, adding that Greece could meet its financial obligations without further financial assistance until the end of November or even early December.

“A deal is still likely in November, but not necessarily on November 12,” the official also said. “There will be no deal until there is a deal on all the different strings of the package. We will not disburse the next tranche until all details are in place”.

Unions of the public and private sector have called for a wave of strikes on November 6th and 7th, 2012, to protest while the government and the parliament will be discussing and voting for the financial Armageddon.

PS Taking into consideration that bill voting takes starts at midnight, I’m afraid we are really government by pumpkins. (I may have written the same sentence also on the voting of 1. and 2. packages of austerity measures. Apologies. But I’ve ruin out of words to comment.)

BTW: did you notice that public sector and state-run enterprises still give wages more than 4,000 euro???
 

 

 

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11 comments

  1. The full package can be read here… wonder if they will read before they sign…..

    http://www.enikos.gr/politics/94116,Ayto_einai_to_polynomosxedio.html

    • it’s all over the internet , the full package: nobodycan claim afterwards s/he didn’t know.
      I wanted to put a link to the full 270-page copy form the parliament but the link didn’t work properly. I’ll try again tomorrow.

    • Reading papers and making up their own minds is not something politicians are known for. Didn’t one or two of them actually admit to not reading the MoU before signing it last time around? Ignorance is bliss, and gives a great excuse to justify irresponsability. Arrogance, as displayed by too many of them these days, is a different matter. Arrogance is where s/he who has nothing to offer hides.
      To a certain extent we are all herd animals, which is supposed to make us function and act for the better of the herd.
      Politicians never act for or on behalf of the herd. They act as the highest bidder tells them to. That is how the system is set up, because the system quite deliberately omits the necessary control systems grouped under the general header of “acountability” It is totally immaterial to a politician that this highest bidder is driving the herc into a stampede over the cliff edge…

      • Like not showing up for important votes. So later, if things turn worse than expected, they can say: well, I was not there, I did not vote so don’t blame me

        • Indeed. This became such a problem in Ireland, that under pressure from the people, the current government introduced a clock-in system for TDs (MPs as we call them in our funny language)and publishes attendance rates on a monthly basis. However, no clock-out system introduced ( a revolving door attitude is not uncommon with Irish politicians), and clocking in can be done on behalf of somebody else. The more brazen ones state they are too busy with parliamentary work and can’t drop their oh so important work to attend a vote in the Dáil (Parliament as we know it). As I said, no accountability. It is not just an Irish or Greek problem, it’s a universal trademark of politicians world wide. They couldn’t care less…
          In the online version of ekathimerini, an opinion piece on politicians goes on about the

          the real tough guy is the person who embraces his responsibilities toward his people and withstands the pressure

          to conclude that in the case of the Greek tough guy, this toughy should do no les than what the Greek government is doing right now. Thereby making it crystal clear that “his people” are indeed the Troika, EU and ECB, but most definitely not the Greek people. As Greece is finding out the hard way.

  2. Well, after the debt is paid to the Troika, can’t the new Greek government at that time, just change everything back to the way it was and hire millions of public workers, give benefits without any money to back it, etc? Or is this change for permanent now in Greece.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I cann’t tell what governments will do in several decades. but for the next years, things will funtion like that with the effect that Troika & the state will get rid of the needy and chronic-ill, will have people work in private sector for max 600e/m while half of a whole generation (the youth) will either go abroad or stay here and never get a job (have social insurance/med care/pension). The bailout-plans should be called “destroy Greece” not ‘rescue Greece’.

      • KTG, so if you are against the agreement, what do you think would happen if they didn’t get the Troika money. Just curious (not being judgemental) but just curious if not taking the money would be worse?

        • keeptalkinggreece

          they’d go collapse probably because they say, they have money until Nov 16. As evety time a tranche is due they claim, they won’t be able to pay pensions and wages- although the tranche money goes normally to pay troika loan interest rates. this time the moeny will go to recapitalization of banks and for the state to pay debts to its suppliers.
          BTW: you don’t need to ‘apologize’ for asking questions you think they’re against my ‘believes’. it’s a free country here lol

          • Yeah, I think it’s about floating money. No money from tranche, starts an avalanche of others that don’t get paid and in the end CHAOS.

    • You should get one thing clear. There is no debt to the Troika. The Troika are nothing short of a debt collecting agency who act on behalf of their clients.
      They do not ask questions about the legitimacy of the clients claims. The only difference between the Troika and the neighbourhood loanshark with a baseball bat is their slightly more polished appearance. But apperances are deceiving.
      The Troika does not break windows or smash cars in order to get the payment. The Troika hold a complete society to ransom, and will sink as low as they have to to get what they want.
      This is a direct result of Troika tactics
      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/25/world/europe/greek-unemployed-cut-off-from-medical-treatment.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
      You know, in a time of war this would be considered a serious war crime. In times of peace it is obviously perfectly ok.
      Because of who their clients are they are, the Troika, if anything, a far worse breed of thug than the neighboodhood hudlum ever will be.