The balancing act of keeping debt-stricken
Mission chiefs representing the EU,
The 19,000 workers now face the threat of arrest if they continue their programme of rolling 48-hour strikes. The ruling coalition took the draconian step after the strike against internationally mandated plans to privatise the company caused intermittent blackouts.
"Just as it was announced on the first day of this strike, the government has decided to protect the public interest," said the government spokeswoman, Sofia Voultepsi. "In a democracy, the laws and court decisions must have the respect of all as the public interest comes first."
But the turbulence could soon be overshadowed as a promise by the prime minister,
The setback comes as
Last year, the judiciary appealed to the highest court to annul legislation implementing cuts. In what was seen as a major blow to
In January, a similar ruling ordered that 10% wage cuts in the armed forces and emergency services also be revoked. Government economists estimate that the cost of restoring wages in all three sectors would cost as much as
Under pressure from anti-bailout populists on the left and right, Samaras has signalled that he will do what it takes to fulfil the judgments. Public-sector workers have seen salaries slashed by an average of 40% since 2010.
The finance ministry now faces the herculean task of convincing highly sceptical creditors that it can plug the gap. Plans will be put to mission chiefs this week, officials said. "We've done our sums, we think we can do it," said one insider, reiterating
But the furore has also sparked fears of reform fatigue, fuelled in part by a government reshuffle that saw anti-bailout populists installed in key posts last month.
"It is crazy that courts are giving orders to the government,"
At close to 175% of GDP,
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