World

Greek public sector no longer too large, says government before budget vote

  • A homeless person sleeps inside a box in Athens, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The Greek government is struggling to finalize a new agreement with international lenders needed to receive continued rescue loan payments. Negotiators from the European Union and International Monetary Fund postponed a visit to Athens this week, but government officials insisted the process would be concluded by the end of the month. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

    A homeless person sleeps inside a box in Athens, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013. The Greek government is struggling to finalize a new agreement with international lenders needed to receive continued rescue loan payments. Negotiators from the European Union and International Monetary Fund postponed a visit to Athens this week, but government officials insisted the process would be concluded by the end of the month. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)  (The Associated Press)

  • The temple of Parthenon on the top of Acropolis hill is illuminated by the sunset in Athens, Friday Dec. 6, 2013. The government is struggling to finalize a new agreement with international lenders needed to receive continued rescue loan payments. Negotiators from the European Union and International Monetary Fund postponed a visit to Athens this week, but government officials insisted the process would be concluded by the end of the month. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

    The temple of Parthenon on the top of Acropolis hill is illuminated by the sunset in Athens, Friday Dec. 6, 2013. The government is struggling to finalize a new agreement with international lenders needed to receive continued rescue loan payments. Negotiators from the European Union and International Monetary Fund postponed a visit to Athens this week, but government officials insisted the process would be concluded by the end of the month. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)  (The Associated Press)

Greece's coalition government says the country no longer has too many public servants and is already close to reaching staff reduction targets demanded by bailout lenders two years before the deadline.

Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the number of workers on the state payroll had been slashed from 913,000 at the end of 2009 to 681,392 on Nov. 30 this year, with annual spending on wage costs axed by just over one-third.

He made the remarks during debate in parliament for the 2014 budget to end with a midnight vote Saturday.

Greece is struggling to complete its latest round of negotiations with bailout lenders, with the pace of staff cuts among the unresolved issues.