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Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:52PM
Yannis Stournaras

Yannis Stournaras

Greece has appointed prominent economist Yannis Stournaras as its new finance minister, a day after a banker selected to fill the position stepped down on health grounds. Stournaras, 55, who was involved in the country's negotiations to join the euro, was appointed to the cabinet post on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. Stournaras is currently the head of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research, a think tank and research body that advises the government. A professor of economics at the University of Athens, he spent several years heading the Finance Ministry's Council of Economic Advisors. "I do think we have the ability to get past this problem. But we must be realistic," Stournaras was quoted as saying about Greece's financial crisis. "We have a difficult road ahead of us, an uphill road. But Greece is a country with great potential… We have to get through a wall -- a wall of entrenched attitudes, and those who do not want to hear that Greece has potential. But we will be able to carry it out," he added. Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs. One in every five Greek workers is currently unemployed, banks are in a shaky position, and pensions and salaries have been slashed by up to 40 percent. Greek youths have also been badly affected, and more than half of them are unemployed. The long-drawn-out eurozone debt crisis, which began in Greece in late 2009 and reached Italy, Spain, and France last year, is viewed as a threat not only to Europe but also to many of the world’s other more developed economies. KA/HGL
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