Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Wednesday expressed his certainty that the country will continue moving on the right track, making the right choices even if the road ahead is difficult.
Speaking during an Economist's conference in Athens, the Finance minister stressed that efforts made so far have offered the first signs and reiterated that the government will not abandon this effort.
Papaconstantinou said that when a state organization was closing down or merging, there might by lay offs as well. "This is not our goal," he said, adding that efforts would be made to absorb personnel from closing or merging organizations, but only of the staff needed.
He noted that the government would make a real evaluation of all public sector organizations before keeping those usefull for Greek citizens. Papaconstantinou underlined that there was no room for relaxing a fiscal effort, noting it was necessary to implement all interventions needed to bring the fiscal deficit to targets set. These interventions, worth 6.0 billion euros, will cover both spending cuts and raising revenues. These decisions are not easy, but will be fair and effective, Papaconstantinou said, while underlining that there would be not horizontal cuts in wages and pensions or any raise in VAT.
Papaconstantinou said the public sector will lose 150,000 workers in the next few years as the government would minimize new hirings, cut contract workers and promote voluntary pension schemes.