By SA News
Greece’s Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday announced Greek economist Yannis Stournaras as the country’s new Finance Minister, replacing 65-year-old Vassilis Rapanos, who resigned on Monday for health reasons.
Stournaras, 55, is a respected liberal pro-reform economist who served as Development and Shipping Minister in the caretaker government that led Greece to the second round of national elections on June 17 after the first inconclusive polls on early May.
A professor of economics at the Athens University, Stournaras is currently also the director of the Greek Foundation for Industrial and Economic Research.
Having studied in the Athens University and Oxford University, he has served as an advisor to the ministries of Finance and Economy and to the Bank of Greece from late 80s. He has also held top management posts in private banks and state-sector enterprises over the past two decades.
As an advisor to former Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Stournaras took part in negotiations for Greece’s entry in the European economic union, the predecessor of the current euro zone.
It is not clear whether Stournaras will attend the upcoming EU summit in Brussels slated for Thursday and Friday this week.
According to an official announcement on Monday, outgoing Finance Minister Yorgos Zannias will lead the government’s economic team as part of the Greek delegation which will be headed by Greece’s President Karolos Papoulias.
Samaras, who will miss the summit due to his health conditions, on Tuesday held afternoon a round of telephone conversations with European leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Luxemburg’s Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker.
The three-party coalition government led by conservative Samaras aims to renegotiate with EU and International Monetary Fund creditors some of the tough austerity terms of the two international bailout deals that since 2010 keep Greece afloat and in the euro zone.
The outcome of the efforts will determine the future of the Greek economy and the government’s stay in office, according to local analysts.
Meanwhile, in another setback for the new Greek administration, Yorgos Vernikos has resigned from the post of Deputy Shipping Minister amidst an uproar over his participation in off shore companies, which has been deemed as “incompatible with public service” by the opposition parties.
Samaras accepted the resignation, local media reported.