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Greek Cabinet set to finalize 30,000 civil service personnel cuts by end-2011
ATHENS, Greece (AP) ' The Greek Cabinet meets Sunday to finalize a plan to cut civil service personnel by 30,000 by the end of the year.
A government announcement says that the final draft of the 2012 budget is also on the agenda.
The Cabinet follows three days of talks with Greece's creditors ' the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund about a government proposal that the civil service cuts will come mainly from placing personnel nearing retirement age on "reserve," or suspending them at reduced pay.
At stake is the disbursement of euro8 billion ($10.8 billion), the sixth installment of a euro110 billion bailout package agreed on in May 2010 to save Greece from defaulting on its debt.
Speaking to a Sunday newspaper, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said that Greece is doing whatever it can to abide by the terms of the bailout package and that he believed the disbursement of the sixth installment is certain.
"Since we take such difficult decisions and the Greek people make such great sacrifices, yes, the sixth installment is assured," Venizelos told newspaper To Vima.
Austria's finance minister, Maria Fekter, appeared optimistic, but far from absolutely certain on the disbursement. Fekter told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper that Greece looks likely to get the next bailout installment.
"The probability that the next tranche of euro8 billion ($10.7 billion) will be paid out to Greece in October is clearly higher from my point of view than it not being paid out," Fekter was quoted as saying.
Fekter said she believes that Greece will fulfill the conditions for the payout.
"I firmly believe that the people and government in Greece have now understood how serious the situation is for them and how determined the Europeans are," she added.