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PM Tsipras explains how to finance salaries of 10K priest and 10K civil servants

The announcement that 10,000 new civil servants will be hired after 10,000 priest will be removed from the state payroll has created a lot of confusion. How will Tsipras will finance the wages for so many civil servants if the state will keep subsidizing the priests wages? In an interview with private Alpha TV,  Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras nicely explained how the puzzle will be solved.

The deal agreed with Archbishop of Athens and All Greece Ieronymos a few days earlier will free up 10,000 positions in the public sector that the government can proceed to fill in areas where there was a need, Tsipras said.

The Joint  Fund for the Exploitation of Church Assets would include all disputed Church properties but also non-disputed properties handed over voluntarily, he added.

From the proceeds of this fund, which will begin operating immediately, the Greek state expects to be able to cover a large part of the subsidy it will give to cover the salaries of the clergy up until 2030, the prime minister said.

The prime minister said that the proclamation of the 10,000 new positions will take place in 2019 so that they can start to be covered from 2020 onward.

He noted that the 1:1 hirings to departures ratio was firmly established and meant that the state could take on an additional 10,000 public-sector workers.

If one added an estimated 8,000-8,500 annual departures from the public sector (through retirement etc), Tsipras said, as well as an additional 7,500 recently announced for 2019 because the required funds had been found (4,500 in special education, 3,000 for ‘Help at Home’ programme), this meant that 16,000 can be hired in key roles in the public sector in 2019 and another 18,500 in 2020.

In a surprise move, Tsipras and Archbishop Ieronymos announced on Tuesday that they had agreed on the creation of a Joint Fund to exploit Church properties.Furthermore, 10,000 priests would be removed from the state payroll to a Special Fund to be managed by the Church. The Special Fund from which they will receive their wages will receive a state subsidy.

Losing their civil servant status triggered an outrage among a large part of priests who threaten with protests.

PS I think the closer we get to elections, the more increase we will see in the state hiring. Sadly, the leader of main opposition cannot beat that strategy… Mitsotakis already declared today “We don’t need such a big public administration.” A job at the state apparatus has been the Greek dream for decades. How much more now where full times jobs are rare in the private sector and the wages are ridiculous.

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