“The determination of the Greek government and the structure of the reforms being advanced comprise a new beginning for Greece,” European Commission (EC) Task Force for Greece chief Horst Reichenbach said on Wednesday after a meeting with employment, social security and welfare minister Yiannis Vroutsis.
Reichenbach told Vroutsis that the climate for Greece prevailing in Europe is changing, and pledged to make every possible effort for the transfer to the country of funds from the European Community Fund, to be used to halting the escalating unemployment in Greece, especially among young people.
Vroutsis described the meeting as “interesting and constructive”, noting that apart from youth unemployment, other topics discussed were the structural changes in the social security system, stamping out transgressions in the labor market, and enhancing the social economy.
Vroutsis reiterated that pensions would be paid normally, and said the ministry was examining, in collaboration with the European Commission, a restructuring of the benefits payment system, while the country’s largest social security funds IKA (state-run Social Security Foundation), OAEE (self-employed professionals’ fund) and ETEA (uniform auxiliary social security fund) would immediately set up a joint collection agency to collect contributions and overdue dues, which would have a large fiscal benefit for the country.
On boosting employment on youth, Vroutsis said the labor ministry was drafting a new programme that would benefit 80,000 unemployed young people, in sectors such as agriculture and hotels.
In that context, Vroutsis asked Reichenbach for the transfer of relevant knowhow from Germany.
As for stamping out transgressions in the labor market, Vroutsis said the ministry was advancing a legislative regulation that would upgrade the Labor Inspectors’ Corps (SEPE) that would give increased authorities to the Labor Inspectors equivalent to those of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) inspectors, aiming at creating a modern and efficient mechanism, of which assessment has been asked from the International Labor Organization (ILO).