Tuesday October 21, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
16o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Hardouvelis to be sworn in as new finance minister

By Renee Maltezou and George Georgiopoulos

Economist Gikas Hardouvelis was named as finance minister in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, signaling an intent to keep up a difficult reform drive demanded by foreign lenders funding the country.

A professor and adviser to previous governments, Hardouvelis is considered similar to his predecessor Yannis Stournaras, also an economist and technocrat who steered Greece towards economic recovery after it nearly crashed out of the euro zone in 2012.

But while the 58-year-old chief economist at Eurobank is expected to maintain the same focus on fiscal rigour, he is likely also to push for growth by cutting taxes.

He takes over at a time when Greece has put the worst of its debt crisis behind it, but is still grappling with a jobless rate of over 26 percent and public anger at austerity cuts that have spread poverty and squeezed household incomes.

"It's all about continuity in economic policy with a more sensitive and human face, said Theodore Couloumbis of Greek think-tank ELIAMEP.

"Hardouvelis is very close to the kind of policies that have been implemented by the government and suit the EU and the IMF and are not far away from Stournaras's beliefs."

The appointment was part of a sweeping reshuffle by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras aimed at wresting back momentum from the radical leftist Syriza party, which won the European Parliament election on May 25 here by a margin of nearly four percentage points over the co-ruling conservatives.

Samaras replaced eight out of 20 ministers in the reshuffle, in an effort to show Greeks that his right-left coalition government is heeding their call for change but without angering foreign lenders who have prescribed austerity for Greece.

"This reshuffle shows that Greece will stay on reform path, and speed up growth without putting at risk budget surpluses, said a senior government official, who declined to be named.

COALITION POLITICS

The changes also allow Samaras to count on the parliamentary support of Andreas Loverdos, a former Socialist PASOK lawmaker turned independent. He was named education minister, boosting the ruling coalition's majority by one to 153 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

The new cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday.

A professor of finance and banking at Piraeus University, Hardouvelis previously advised technocrat prime minister Lucas Papademos in 2012 when Greece restructured its debt, imposing losses on private bondholders. He was also chief economic adviser to Socialist prime minister Costas Simitis from 2000-04.

Hardouvelis has in the past referred to the need for active policies to get Greece's economic wheels turning again, but has also stressed the importance of structural reforms.

"It's important to continue with structural reforms during the effort to end the recession, Hardouvelis said in a speech in September. The future cannot be stagnation. The economy's structure must change."

After a six-year slump, the country's worst peacetime economic crisis, Greece is expected to return to marginal growth this year. Athens returned to bond markets in April after a four-year exile with a successful bond sale.

Much of the credit for Athens' swift turnaround from near bankruptcy in 2012 has been given to Stournaras, who is now expected to replace Bank of Greece Governor George Provopoulos when his term expires on June 21.

Under Stournaras, Athens also posted a primary budget surplus in 2013, making it eligible for further debt relief by the EU and IMF, with talks expected to begin in the autumn - a next major focus for the new finance minister.

[Reuters]

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday June 10, 2014 (12:07)  
At loggerheads over role of the IMF
Hong Kong telecom group buys out Greek start-up
Local tourism could see more arrivals, investments next year
Troika exerts pressure using return date
Wage dispute hurts govt unity before troika return
Changes to the public sector wage structure are at the heart of a dispute within the coalition that has raised concerns about whether the government will be in a position to negotiate effect...
Most Britons want to see Parthenon Marbles back in Athens, poll shows
The majority of Britons think that their country should return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, a new poll has found. According to the survey, which was conducted by the YouGov international...
Inside News
BASKETBALL
PAOK fans stop coach Markopouloss move to Olympiakos
Olympiakos is once again in the lookout for a new coach after the refusal of PAOK to release Soulis Markopoulos, while Panathinaikos defeated Kolossos on Rhodes on Monday to become the only ...
BASKETBALL
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
Nea Kifissia recorded the biggest win of its short history in the top flight defeating Olympiakos 68-67 on Sunday, in a Basket League weekend marred by the abandonment of the Thessaloniki de...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Stop moaning and get in the game
There are so many people who love spending their days talking about the crisis and proclaiming that they know exactly what needs to be done to solve the countrys problems. Some of them obvi...
EDITORIAL
Exorcising the ghosts
Developments last week held in store an uncomfortably realistic understanding of the risks engulfing the country. The massive sell-off in Greeces stock and bond markets was a strong shock. ...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. PAOK fans stop coach Markopouloss move to Olympiakos
2. At loggerheads over role of the IMF
3. Hong Kong telecom group buys out Greek start-up
4. Local tourism could see more arrivals, investments next year
5. Troika exerts pressure using return date
6. Wage dispute hurts govt unity before troika return
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
2. Bakers encircle Thessaloniki's White Tower with giant 'koulouri'
3. Turkish vessel enters Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone
4. European leaders pivot back to debt crisis after wake-up call
5. Hardouvelis does not see 'big surprises' in ECB stress tests
6. Stop moaning and get in the game
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Greece to contribute 1 mln towards Gaza reconstruction
3. Greece nearing bailout exit, says gov't spokesperson after IMF talks
4. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
5. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
6. GPO poll gives SYRIZA clear lead over New Democracy
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.