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PM Papandreou put an end to reshuffle talks with an intervention during the Ministers Council’s informal meeting on Tuesday. Reports say that Papandreou said characteristically government reshuffle talks should end, adding that any changes would be made to fill in posts in the event that government members participate in local administration elections. He referred to structural reforms in the Ministers Council and the Premier’s Office, which he disengaged from government reshuffle. The 4 hour meeting of the Ministers’ Council centered on the government’s priorities in the next period. Emphasis was placed on citizens’ day life and dealing with problems in Athens’ historical and commercial center.

Issues discussed during the Ministers Council included closed professions, education, development of Athens historical center.Health Minister Mariliza Xenoyiannakopoulou briefed on the mosquitoes carriers of the West Nile virus and a smoking ban in all indoor public sites.

Athens Historical Center: Measures, timetables and amount required for the development of the Athens center were discussed after proposals by Protection of Citizens Minister and undersecretary Mihalis Hrisohoidis and Spiros Bouyias. The Prime Minister said Athens must become the pilot for interventions by local administration and the state and the center of the capital must be linked with entrepreneurship and tourism.

Closed professions: Until the end of August Ministries should respond to Vice President Pangalos’ letter asking: which closed professions are in their competence, which are the obstacles, what international practices say and what legislation says.

Finance Ministry circles reminded that opening of closed professions is linked with EU regulation #123.

A dialogue with interested sectors will follow while relevant draft-bills will be tabled by the end of October.

Finance Ministry staff said that there is no need for talks on memorandum 1 and memorandum 2; clarifying that there is only one memorandum which is revised every three months. Measures that have been taken out in each revision and reference is specified on remaining issues. For example, Railway Company (OSE) was referred where the memorandum in May had only 5 lines. Now it has specific regulations on the issue.

Sale of DEH plants is not in the memorandum but procedures in the revised text will be tabled to the Parliament’s Economic Committee for discussion.

In response to a question regarding additional measures, Finance Ministry sources said that transfer of some products to the VAT 23% scale from the VAT 11% scale is included in the May memorandum but the government maintained that it could raise revenues from other measures bearing the same result. The same circles added however, that other measures with equivalent results have not been found so far.

Furthermore they ruled out additional measures in 2010. They explained that 2011 measures are included in the memorandum and will be referred in the budget plan to be submitted on October 4th and will be in place next year.

Finally the same circles said the Prime Minister will speak about the government’s growth plan at the Thessaloniki International Fair.

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