Position: Greek finance minister
Incumbent: Yanis Varoufakis
Date of Birth: 24 March, 1961
Term: Appointed January 27 by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras after his leftwing Syriza party won a four-year term at the January 25, 2015 general election.
- Varoufakis is an academic economist who has worked in universities in Greece, Britain, Australia and the United States. He gained a wide following before entering politics for his trenchant criticisms of euro zone policy, based on enforcing budget rigour and encouraging market-friendly economic reform.
- He has argued that the orthodox approach to the crisis risks undermining the single currency and breaking the European Union apart, saying it amounted to “a cynical transfer of banking losses onto the shoulders of the weakest taxpayers”.
- A prolific anti-austerity blogger with a taste for colourful shirts and vivid turn of phrase - he once called the bailout terms imposed on Greece by its international creditors “fiscal waterboarding” - he says it was a mistake for Greece ever to join the euro but that it is too late to leave now.
- Varoufakis was an adviser to former centre-left Prime Minister George Papandreou until he resigned in 2006. He turned against Papandreou’s acceptance of an international bailout, arguing that Greece was effectively insolvent and could not avoid defaulting on its massive public debt.
- He only went into politics in the run-up to the 2015 election. He left his position at the University of Texas saying he could not refuse Tsipras’ invitation to join his team.
Writing by James Mackenzie