Minister presents plan for streamlining state

In a bid to meet the demands of Greece’s creditors without provoking a widespread reaction by moving ahead with 150,000 public sector layoffs, Administrative Reform Minister Antonis Manitakis on Wednesday presented a plan for streamlining the civil service while keeping jobs.

Meeting with European Commission officials in Brussels, Manitakis said the government can achieve a 40 percent reduction in the size of the civil service by merging and closing down departments that are defunct or underperforming.

Safeguarding civil servants’ jobs is one of the red lines that has been drawn by Democratic Left, one of the three parties in Greece’s coalition government, but the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- collectively known as the troika -- have put pressure on Athens to slash the state’s employment bill.

The government has pledged to meet the troika’s target with early retirements, by placing a freeze on new hires and reviving a labor reserve scheme. 

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