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New cabinet for Greece but same debt

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 02:14

Economics professor Yanis Varoufakis has been confirmed as Greece's next finance minister. As Sonia Legg reports he's already promised to defy advice to ''put up or shut up'' saying he intends to find solutions that favour all Europeans rather than just Greeks.

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Out with the old and in with the new Greece has a new cabinet and a new way. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) ATHENS RESIDENT, NICOLETTA DESLI, SAYING: "I feel really great because something new has come to Greece; fresh perspectives, new ideas, and I'm really pinning my hopes on him." (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATHENS RESIDENT, POLYZOIS TAVOULARIS, SAYING: "We're just waiting to see what will happen. At least his people are young, fresh faces and haven't been mentioned in any corruption issues." But there's no new plan yet for re-paying its debt. Euro zone finance minsters hinted only at possibly allowing Greece more time. Eurogroup Chair Jereon Dijsselbloem. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EUROGROUP CHAIR, JEROEN DIJSSELBLOEM, SAYING: "The problems are still there, they still have to be solved and there are different approaches you can take, but the problems have not changed overnight. So there is still major work to be done in which we will support the Greek government on the basis of true co-operation, and commitment." Eyebrows have been raised about the choice of Finance Minister. Economist Yanis Varoufakis is considered a hardliner when it comes to austerity - he's firmly against it. He's already promised to defy advice to "put up or shut up". He spoke to Reuters during a previous election campaign. (SOUNDBITE) (English): YANIS VAROUFAKIS, GREECE'S NEW FINANCE MINISTER, SPEAKING TO REUTERS DURING PREVIOUS ELECTION CAMPAIGN : "Germany always makes it clear there is no leeway until there is no leeway. Germany constantly says 'Nein, nein, nein' and then 'Ja' at the moment the whole thing is about to implode and go belly up." If he still believes that, the standoff between Greece's new leaders and its current lenders could be a long one. Kerry Craig is from JP Morgan. (SOUNDBITE) (English) KERRY CRAIG, GLOBAL MARKETS STRATEGIST, JP MORGAN, SAYING: "They really are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to debt forgiveness. You might see some movement about maturities and how long they get to pay that debt back and the interest rates on it but for many, particularly those in Germany they do not want to see their tax payers effectively footing the bill for Greece." But all this talk of more time for Greece to repay its debts is academic for now. Athens must first secure an extension to its existing bailout - part of a 240 billion euro rescue package. That expires at the end of February - failure to renew it will leave Greece unable to pay its bills.

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New cabinet for Greece but same debt

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 - 02:14