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Greece: Yannis Stournaras appointed finance minister

The respected economist replaces Vassilios Rapanos, who resigned Monday after he was hospitalized with stomach pains.

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Yannis Stournaras, or "Mr Euro", is the new finance minister of Greece. (AFP/Getty Images)

Respected economist Yannis Stournaras, who earned the nickname "Mr Euro" for his role in negotiating Greece’s entry into the euro zone, has just taken on the daunting challenge of sorting out the country’s financial mess.

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The 55-year-old veteran technocrat replaces former finance minister Vassilios Rapanos, who resigned Monday after he was hospitalized with stomach pains the day he was to take the oath of office, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The office of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is also in hospital recovering from eye surgery, issued a statement announcing the appointment of “Athens University economics professor… Yannis Stournaras as finance minister,” Reuters reported.

Despite the country’s nosebleed high unemployment rate, it's doubtful many other people in Greece would have wanted the position, which the Wall Street Journal described as the “toughest job in the world."

Agence France-Presse was more conservative in its assessment, saying it was the “hardest job in the euro zone.”

What is certain is that Greece’s new number cruncher has a tough week ahead of him and he will have little time to settle into his new office.

Stournaras will spearhead the country’s efforts at the European Union summit on Thursday and Friday to soften the deeply unpopular austerity measures Greece has agreed to implement in exchange for billions of euros in aid.

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His appointment comes on the same day that another official quit the coalition government that was only formed last week following the June 17 election. 

According to the Associated Press, Giorgos Venicos, the deputy at the merchant marine ministry, resigned today. No reason was given but it has been suggested that he had a conflict of interest.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120626/yannis-stournaras-appointed-greece-finance-minister