NEWS

Venizelos says he is joining ‘a real battle’

Greece?s new finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, said he is joining ?a real battle? after being given his new post in Friday morning?s reshuffle.

The changes to the Cabinet saw nine new faces join Prime Minister George Papandreou?s team. The total number of ministers and deputy ministers fell to 42.

The new Cabinet held its first meeting on Friday afternoon, when unemployment was meant to be top of the agenda.

All eyes were on Venizelos, who is charged with taking over the tough task of rescuing the Greek economy from its current crisis.

Speaking later in the afternoon at the Finance Ministry, where he took over from outgoing Giorgos Papaconstantinou, Venizelos praised his predecessor and summed up the size of the challenge facing him.

?Giorgos Papaconstantinou has had to lift a huge weight,? said the new finance minister.

?I accepted the prime minister?s offer, which was an honor and a challenge and I will carry out his duty without reservations.

?I am joining a real battle.?

Venizelos suggested that he would be open to suggestions about economic policy from other parties and Greek citizens.

?We are not asking for consensus for self-serving reasons but because we want to rediscover social consensus,? he said.

The new Cabinet, which you can see here, is due to face a vote of confidence in Parliament on Tuesday.