Greek civil service shrank in crisis: EU-IMF auditors
(ATHENS) - Greece's huge civil service shrank by over 95,000 people in the last three years after it began applying a tough economic overhaul in return for loans, data from the creditor mission showed on Friday.
The number of full-time civil servants fell by 10.9 percent from 876,732 in 2009 to 780,854 in May, said the auditors from the so-called troika -- the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank in a document seen by AFP.
The auditors noted that figures on unregistered hiring -- which is ongoing despite official restrictions -- are still being researched.
Greece on Thursday denied that it had breached the loan agreement signed with the troika in 2010 by taking on some 70,000 public-sector staff in two years, as a Greek newspaper had reported at the weekend.
"Restrictions in effect have been faithfully observed," the administrative reform ministry said, in the government's first response to the article in Sunday weekly To Vima, which had been widely picked up in the European press.
A spokeswoman in the ministry said the newspaper's figures were wrong.
"Greece never broke the agreement," she told AFP.
"They are talking of about 70,000 recruitment and it's only around 20,000" for 2010 and 2011 combined, she said.
Under the bailout agreement, Greece promised to hire only one civil servant for every five that leave, later changed to one for every 10.
The ministry also said a troika report referred to in the newspaper article was only a draft.
The auditors are to return to Athens next week to resume an inspection last held in February. Their report will determine whether Greece will continue to draw loans from its multi-billion-euro rescue package.
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