′Mr Euro′ takes over as Greek finance minister | News | DW | 26.06.2012
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'Mr Euro' takes over as Greek finance minister

The man who took Greece into the euro ten years ago has become the country’s latest finance minister. He is replacing banker Vassilis Rapanos who was forced to resign due to health reasons.

Yannis Stournaras, the new Greek finance minister.

Griechenland Finanzminister Yannis Stournaras

"Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has decided to name Athens University economics professor, Yannis Stournaras as finance minister," Samaras' office announced on Tuesday afternoon.

The prime minister's office confirmed that the coalition members had agreed to the man known as "Mr Euro" in Greece taking over the finance ministry.

Samaras was chief economic adviser and aide to former prime minister Costas Simitis when Greece was negotiating entry to the euro, which it joined in 2001.

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Stournaras, 55, is the head of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research which advises the government. He spent several years heading the Finance Ministry's Council of Economic Advisors.

A liberal economist, he supports structural reforms to open up the Greek economy and make it more competitive. As such he is a diplomatic choice for dealing with the country's foreign lenders.

It was unclear whether Stournaras would be ready to go to the important European Union summit on Thursday and Friday. New Democracy party leader Samaras, who left hospital on Monday with one eye patched over has been advised by his doctors not to travel.

Instead, Greece is likely to be represented by outgoing Finance Minister George Zanias in a delegation headed by Karolos Papoulias, the country's 83 year old president who has held the office since 2005. The presidency is a largely ceremonial position.

jm/msh (AP, Reuters)

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