Former chairman of the National Bank of Greece Vasilis Rapanos is the new Minister of Finance. His name was one of the first suggested for the post and apparently, New Democracy, PASOK and the Democratic Left have unanimously approved it.
Rapanos is an experienced financial expert. He has extensive knowledge of the specificity of the Greek financial system and he took an active part in Greece’s integration into the European system. He will return to the Ministry of Finance after eight years of absence, having been the head of the commission of financial advisers in the period 2000-2004. In the most critical times for the country, on the brink of the crisis (December 2009), he headed the National Bank of Greece. Today, he has left the management body of the largest commercial bank in Greece to take control of state finances.
Rapanos will take over one of the most difficult tasks in Greece today. He must lead the renegotiation of the measures under the Memorandum for financial assistance so that they become feasible and so that the country remains true to its obligations as agreed. Greek political analysts argue that Rapanos has the right combination of academic knowledge and practical experience in finance to be able to cope with his new obligations.
Christos Staikouras, who holds a doctorate in finance and banking, will be Rapanos’ deputy minister. He is one of the financial advisers to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and one of the developers of the financial programme of New Democracy. Staikouras is the new blood of the blue party and he was first elected a deputy in the 2007 elections. He is familiar with Greece’s arrangements with the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund and is a firm supporter of the European perspective of Greece.
A new face in active politics is George Mavraganis, who headed the tax department in the international audit company KPMG from 2006 to date. He will also be deputy finance minister and he is expected to give a positive impetus to the reform of the tax system and administration. In Greece, it is famous neither for its efficiency nor for the transparency of operations and tax revenues fell by 30% compared to last year.
The Minister and his deputies are expected to be sworn in on Friday as on Thursday, caretaker Minister George Zanyas is representing Greece at the meeting of European ministers in Brussels.