Greece has a new Finance Minister. No, you’re not the only one feeling an odd sense of déjà vu…
Yannis Stournaras (a prominent economist) is the man now enjoying the dubious honor of the position. His televised swearing in ceremony had a glamorous setting – the presidential mansion – and even featured a special guest appearance. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras attended the event, appearing in public for the first time in nearly two weeks after the eye surgery which so swiftly followed the formation of his coalition government.
If Stournaras harbored any hopes of being gently eased into his new position they were quickly dashed. Just hours after being sworn into office he was on his way to a meeting with international debt inspectors from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank (known collectively as The Troika). They will be focusing on the reform program designed by The Troika for Greece which has been pushed behind schedule in the face of the political upheaval of the past few months.
The new three-party coalition government headed by Samaras is aiming to elicit some large concessions from The Troika, with the claim that the continually rising levels of unemployment and a bleak economic outlook justify the relaxing of imposed austerity measures.
Ahead of Samaras’ presentation of the government’s policy statement on Friday the coalition is advocating the repeal of several tax hikes and the freezing of public sector layoffs.
And so the Greek Tragedy continues. Whether Yannis Stournaras will add any more twists to its convoluted plot remains to be seen.