Friday, November 9, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
An Oddy Situation in Greece
From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report in Special English.
Greek leaders have been holding talks with financial experts from the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. All sides are working on ways to bring Greece's huge debt under control. That debt threatens to hurt Europe and the world economy.
In 2011, the Greek government decided to close 50 state agencies to save money. The country's foreign creditors have demanded these types of cost cutting measures. But this process has been a struggle. One example is Greece's attempt to close the Organization for Public Property Management, or ODDY.
ODDY ran centers around the country that sold off different kinds of goods, from furniture to cars.
At a center in Athens, cars of almost every model can be found. They may have been seized from drug dealers or taken from people who could not pay their bills. And there are lots of other goods: furniture, large appliances, buses, motorcycles, even gambling machines.
ODDY used to sell them all. Now, that part of the agency has been closed. And the weather is ruining many of these goods.
Officially, Greece closed ODDY. But employees and government officials say they really restructured it. They say ODDY has been renamed DDDY. It is no longer an organization, but a directorate. And it is now an office of the Greek Finance Ministry. Critics of the change say the new agency is no longer effective. Jobs have been cut sharply. And many costs have moved from pay to pensions.
Critics of the cuts say they may not be saving Greece money after all. But the agency says that, in time, they will cut costs.