Monday, June 18, 2012

Greece’s Next Finance Minister?

by Matina Stevis

Wall Street Journal

June 17, 2012

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Here’s three prominent New Democracy figures who are likely to play a role in the Greek finance ministry or hold a separate economics-related portfolio. Not to be premature, of course. New Democracy may have come first in Sunday’s elections, but it hasn’t yet started trying to form a government. We include a fourth profile wildcard: the current finance minister.


Stavros Dimas
Former European Commissioner for the environment (and, prior to that briefly for Social Affairs), party vice president and former foreign minister in the short-lived Papademos government, Mr Dimas is a New Democracy heavyweight. The 71-year-old politician read law and economics at the University of Athens before moving to New York University for his masters. He worked on Wall Street as well as the World Bank. He was deputy economic coordination minister and as trade minister in the late 1970s, but his expertise in the field is not why he’d get the job. His Brussels experience, respect at home and clout abroad could mean he is his party’s best shot at negotiating milder bailout terms with the country’s international creditors, the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund.

Kostis Hadjidakis
A relatively low-key and liberal member of New Democracy, Mr Hadjidakis oversaw the privatization of Olympic Airlines, the highly-indebted national air carrier, as Development minister in 2009. He also served as Transport and Telecommunications minister. Originally from the island of Crete, he spent seven years in Brussels as a member of the European parliament. The 47-year-old is a strong candidate for the Development ministry and his privatization and European experience will play in his favor.


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