Greek News Agenda – October 7, 2011

1. ROESLER ARRIVES Reforms in Greece must go ahead because that is the only way the country attract investment was the message delivered by German Economics Minister Philipp Roesler at a business reception late on Thursday in Athens. Roesler, who arrived in Athens some hours beforehand, is accompanied by a 60-strong delegation of business people. One of the key areas of cooperation that the minister is expected to look at is investment in solar energy. Greece offers almost twice as many sunshine hours as Germany, but its solar energy output is about 80 times smaller than Germany’s.

2. PUBLIC SECTOR PAY A bill on the uniform pay scale and the labour reserve measure for civil servants was tabled in parliament late on Thursday. The bill establishes a minimum public sector monthly salary of 780 euros and a maximum of 3,000 euros, which will be supplemented by up to seven types of benefits. It also states that all public sector employees who have completed 33 years of service by the year’s end will be placed on a special pre-pension status in 2012, during which they will be paid 60 percent of their basic salary.

3. MUNICIPAL WORKERS The mounds of uncollected rubbish in Athens and other cities are expected to grow even larger, following the decision of municipal workers to continue with sit-ins at landfill sites until October 11. This effectively means the shutting down of all municipal services for the third weekend running.

4. MISSING PENSIONERS About one in every ten citizens in receipt of an IKA state pension have failed to prove that they exist, under a pensioner census carried out during the summer. A total of 898,643 pensioners registered under the census, which required them to physically present themselves at a bank or IKA branch and present an ID card, while 109,421 failed to turn up. The census was called after several incidents of families drawing the pensions of deceased relatives were uncovered.

5. TROIKA TALKS One side says they’re over, the other says they’re not: On Thursday night, the government said that it has finalised talks with the visiting troika inspectors, a claim that was contradicted by a troika representative who said that the negotiations on the bailout were continuing. On Wednesday, troika official told Reuters that while the Greek aid tranche was likely to be agreed, the government had to do more to convince them that it can implement reforms.

6. EMERGENCY FUNDING The Bank of Greece, the county’s central bank, said on Thursday that it provided 6.42bn euros of emergency liquidity assistance to Greek lenders during August. It did not provide details on which banks made use of the facility.

7. HAIRCUT A leading German politician has said that private banks may need to provide an even greater write down on Greek debt than the 21 percent cut agreed under the July 21 summit. «Private banks have agreed to give up 21 percent of their Greek claims. It is possible that that will not be enough,» said Norbert Barthle, budget spokesman for Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).

8. DIGITALISATION The holdings of the valuable and rare archives and library of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul will soon be digitalised and preserved under a programme that will be sponsored by OTE and Cosmote, it was announced on Thursday.

9. PUBLIC BICYCLES Athenians may soon be able to rent out bikes for trips around the city’s historic centre, mayor Yiorgos Kaminis announced on Thursday. Under a pilot scheme, bikes will be made available to hire at depots located on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street, at Thiseio and at the Athens cathedral.


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