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Will mild-mannered minister help Greece?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015 - 01:57

Euclid Tsakalotos, the mild-tempered professor who was appointed as Greece's new finance minister on Monday, is a clear change in style from his combative predecessor Yanis Varoufakis. Sonia Legg looks at their differences and whether it will help Greece.

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There's certainly a change of style. Greece's new Finance Minister couldn't be more different to his predecessor. Euclid Tsakalotos is mild-mannered, softly spoken and shuns the limelight. He speaks Greek with a British accent, partly thanks to his days studying at Oxford University, and he has a more gentle and sympathetic tone. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) INCOMING GREEK FINANCE MINISTER, EUCLID TSAKALOTOS, SAYING: "There are class issues with this vote. Simple working class and middle class people who have lost their businesses said that we want to trust a government that will deliver a viable solution." Yanis Varoufakis had the rock star following. But with his confidence came what some saw as cockiness. His self-proclaimed "erratic Marxism" has now gone. In its place comes a "Revolutionary Europeanist" - an economist who supports EU integration but not its capitalist principles. He still supports debt relief and believes Greece has been unnecessarily impoverished. But Richard Hunter from Hargreaves Lansdown says he's more likely to be welcome in Brussels. SOUNDBITE (English) RICHARD HUNTER, HEAD OF EQUITIES, HARGREAVES LANSDOWN, SAYING: "The new Greek Finance Minister has been the main negotiator on behalf of Greece. Obviously the previous finance Minister managed to ruffle a few feathers but the big plus in terms of the new Finance minister is that he is well known to the people with whom he is going to be conversing so optimistically, potentially, that would mean a deal would be easier to come by." Both men were university Professors of Economics before becoming Finance ministers. And both are seen as hardliners. But even here there's a big difference. Varoufakis never had any formal training - Tsakalotos studied the subject at PhD level. Varoufakis lectured in game theory - Tsakalotos wrote books with central bankers. The charisma may be lacking but the new minister has strong negotiating qualities - and they're coming in very handy.

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Will mild-mannered minister help Greece?

Tuesday, July 07, 2015 - 01:57