Government cleaners in Greece reinstated in first anti-austerity move

Government cleaners in Greece reinstated in first anti-austerity move
By Seamus Kearney
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Greece's new finance minister announces the reinstatement of some government cleaners


There is victory for the cleaners in Athens who became the face of hope that harsh austerity could be reversed.

In a symbolic first move, the country’s new finance minister has announced the reinstatement of some government cleaners who lost their jobs in 2013.

One of the cleaners, Lili Giannakaki, told euronews: ‘We fought for 19 months, a fight that was tiring and frustrating, with many problems. Today we feel vindication for everything we went through.’

The cleaners had been camping outside the finance ministry. The new minister says he is doing away with some advisers to pay for the cleaners.

Yianis Varoufakis said: “Today we turn the page on the error, the denial that has cost human lives … lives lost or undermined. It’s been a cost for our European partners.

“The problem is not that Germany, Italy or Slovakia, which is poorer than us, did not lend enough money to Greece. They gave more than they should have. And that money went into a black hole.”

The markets are now anxiously awaiting further concrete details of what the new government plans.

Euronews correspondent in Athens, Symela Touchtidou, reported: “The new Greek finance minister says he will put an end to austerity programmes that add new debt to an already unsustainable one, and that deprive the real economy of resources.”

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