“The agreement between the State and the Church frees 10,000 jobs for civil servants,” government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told reporters during a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
“This gives the opportunity to cover these places with the hiring of civil servants to cover needs of the social state, by hiring doctors, teachers and others,” Tzanakopoulos said.
An agreement between Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and leader of the Greek Orthodox Church Archbishop Ieronymos foresees among others that 10,000 priests lose their status as “civil servants.”
Their salaries will no longer be paid directly by the state but by a Special Fund to be managed by the Church.
The state will still subsidize the priests’ salaries with an estimated amount of at least 210 million euros per year.
The decision has triggered an outrage among a large part of Greece’s priests who threaten with dynamic protests.
Announcing the (future) hiring of 10,000 doctors, teachers etc even before the Holy Synod approved the Agreement is a clever political move to mute reactions.
The Health and the Education sectors have been severely hit by the austerity measures in the 8 years of bailout agreements with personnel shortages.