Greece crisis: Varoufakis' deputy appointed as finance minister
Speaking at a joint press conference at the Ministry of Finance in Athens on Monday, the former minister and the newly appointed one both praised each other's work.
While Yanis Varoufakis said there was "something common" between the two, particularly mentioning "a repulsion towards a lack of arguments," Tsakalotos spoke highly of his colleague's achievements while occupying the post.
The Greek people "wanted to trust a government that will offer a sustainable solution. We wouldn’t have reached this point without Yanis Varoufakis. I cannot imagine that any other minister of finance would have achieved for the entire Europe to be talking about a sustainable solution, for the entire planet to be discussing that something is going on in this country," Tsakalotos told reporters, as cited by Ruptly.
— GIANNIS PITTARAS (@jo_pit) July 6, 2015
It’s not the first time Tsakalotos has taken over from Varoufakis. He was appointed to negotiate with creditors at the end of April when the Syriza government replaced Varoufakis. On the sidelines of the talks the former finance minister was often referred to as ‘impossible’ do deal with.
Like many others in the leftist ruling party, he is more a professor than a politician. Tsakalotos is a graduate of St. Pauls School, London, and then Oxford University, where he studied Economics, Politics and Philosophy, and the University of Sussex in the UK. Most recently he has been Professor at the National University of Athens.
In contrast to Varoufakis, who was an outsider, Tsakalotos has been a member of Syriza for almost a decade.
His appointment is hardly out of the blue. When resigning on Monday, Varoufakis said he hoped Tsakalatos would take over.
"I am leaving and I will see you tomorrow with Mr. Tsakalotos," Varoufakis said on leaving the finance ministry on Monday. When asked whether Tsakalotos would be the new finance minister, Varoufakis said: "I hope so."
Greece and its troika of international creditors – the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission have been negotiating with the Syriza government over a bailout deal since the end of January when it came to power on promises to end the austerity cuts. They have so far failed to find compromise, as the Greek Government doesn’t want to accept further pension cuts and increase taxes as much as the creditors insist.
On Tuesday eurozone members will make another attempt to find a solution to the deadlock at an emergency summit where they’ll discuss the Greek referendum result. The EU President Donald Tusk and president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker are expected to talk at a European Parliament session in Strasbourg on July 7 at 13:00 GMT.