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Greek reshuffle as debt woes loom

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 02:10

June 17 - Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou appoints a new finance minister as parliament comes under pressure to pass tough reforms, despite massive protests. Kirsty Bassett reports

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PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL A new finance minister for Greece - at a crucial time for the country's economy. Evangelos Venizelos, who was the defence minister has taken over from George Papaconstantinou, now environment minister, as part of a cabinet reshuffle. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is attempting to construct a cabinet that's committed to backing a tough austerity package demanded by international lenders, in return for billions of dollars in badly needed rescue funds next month. Leaders of Germany and France met in Berlin on Friday, saying they want a decision on Greece's new aid package, and fast. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL SAYING: "The quicker we resolve this the better. That means that we now need a new bailout programme for the situation in Greece. This requires Greece to fulfil its responsibilities." French President Nicolas Sarkozy also said there was no time to lose, suggesting a deal could be hatched quickly. That sent European shares into positive territory and boosted the euro. Merkel and Sarkozy say they are united behind a new aid package that would include voluntary participation of the private sector in taking on Greece's debt. Some say such a public show of unity is exactly what's needed to avoid a default. Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Jim O'Neill. (SOUNDBITE)(English) CHAIRMAN OF GOLDMAN SACHS ASSET MANAGEMENT, JIM O'NEILL SAYING: "Well I think the risk of it is growing if European policy makers aren't a bit more sensible. If I were a Greek policy maker, I'd be like guys, it's our debt, your problem. So if European policymakers carry on publicly sparring with each other, it's sort of like a game theory between the ECB, the French and the Germans, if I were the Greeks, I'd start getting a bit noisy about it." Eurozone finance ministers begin talks on Sunday, but are not expected to agree on a new aid package until at least early July. Kirsty Basset, Reuters.

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Greek reshuffle as debt woes loom

Friday, June 17, 2011 - 02:10