greek pm defiant on taxi reforms as strike continues
Last Updated : GMT 01:03:47
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Greek PM defiant on taxi reforms as strike continues

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Greek PM defiant on taxi reforms as strike continues

Athens - AFP

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Wednesday invited taxi owners for talks to end a 10-day strike that has caused disruption to tourism but insisted he would push ahead with planned reforms. \"Closed professions will open despite the stubborness of guilds ... who shut down ports, airports and roads in the midst of the tourism season,\" Papandreou said in a televised address to ruling party lawmakers. \"The government will hear every proposal ... but this liberalisation will take place,\" Papandreou said, referring to a reform demanded by Greece\'s international creditors who are now keeping the Greek economy afloat. The strike began after a new transport minister appointed in June ditched a previous reform draft agreed by his predecessor with unionists that would have capped the number of taxi licenses based on population in each region. Taxi owners argue that full liberalisation will cause a cabbie glut and sink the value of their operating licenses, which used to exchange hands for six-figure sums. Tour operators and the government have said the protest has damaged the country\'s reputation abroad at the height of the holiday season. \"I appeal to taxi owners for cooperation on this point. I call them to be conscious of the negative effects of their mobilisation during a critical period for tourism, the country\'s economic life and citizens,\" Papandreou said. The European Union and International Monetary Fund have demanded sweeping deregulation in various Greek labour sectors in exchange for multi-billion-dollar loans needed to save Athens from defaulting on its debt. Some 8,000 taxi drivers protested against the reform in Athens on Tuesday and their union leaders have threatened to cause further disruption unless their demands are satisfied.  

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