"The Troika is tougher than ever"

«Η Τρόικα είναι πιο σκληρή παρά ποτέ!»

The Parliamentary Labour Finance group meeting of PASOK, which lasted almost until midnight on Tuesday, with the participation...

The Parliamentary Labour Finance group meeting of PASOK, which lasted almost until midnight on Tuesday, with the participation of Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Minister of Administrative Reform Dimitris Reppas, as well as Labour Minister George Koutroumanis, was dramatic.

Mr. Venizelos, presenting the controversial multiple bill which will result in a further reduction of employee incomes in the public sector, focused om two key points concerning the Troika negotiations and the release of the sixth tranche.

a)    “The Troika is not the same”, stated Mr. Venizelos to all fiercely disagreeing PASOK MPs, since now most representatives of the Troika in Greece are personally updating German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The deputy prime minister, according to reports, stated that the bargaining margins have narrowed dramatically.
b)    Mr. Venizelos stressed that there is no question of changing Article 37, which refers to the freezing of sectoral agreements in favor of business agreements, since the wording has been completely agreed upon with the Troika and is a prerequisite for the disbursement of the sixth installment.

The intentions of the party members in relation to the part of the labour bill in question, as presented by the Finance Minister, have been evident since this morning.

It is noteworthy that the meeting was adjourned in the afternoon and then continued from 7pm until almost midnight, with the voices of parliament members criticizing the content of the bill even being heard outside the room.

Also indicative of the climate was the fact that Parliament Chairman Philip Petsalnikos hurried in the House after 10pm at night, taking on a role of “firefighter” and calming debates between members.

At the heart of the controversy was the potential for a substantial removal of national contracts to the benefit of business contracts, which some reports even state that the government has promised Troika, in view of an immediate beginning of the dialogue with social partners.

The latter has vehemently opposed such an occurrence which, according to reports, might even be included as a provision in the updated Memorandum which will be signed between the government and the Troika.

Please note that this morning there was a strong debate between Vasso Papandreou and other members, which led to Venizelos’ declaration: “If you think the government is ineffective or has no moral foundation, then topple it…”

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