Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has appointed a new cabinet in his struggle to combat the country’s debt crisis. The new finance minister is Evangelos Venizelos, who replaces George Papaconstantinou.
The entire team was sworn in at a ceremony in the presidential palace in Athens on Friday.
The EU and IMF have drawn up a new 120-billion euro bailout for Greece, on condition that the prime minister’s planned new austerity measures are implemented.
Venizelos will be the man in charge of implementing the 28 billion euros’ worth of savings, through a series of spending cuts, tax hikes and state privatisations. All of which is expected to be opposed by large sections of Greek society. Recent weeks have seen a series of strikes and clashes with police.
Venizelos promised that Greece “must be saved and will be saved” and added that he had doubts about taking the post. “I did it with much thought and not without doubts. I did it because I consider it my patriotic duty,” he said after being sworn in.
Some analysts see the reshuffle as a way to buy time for the embattled prime minister and say it does little to reduce the scepticism in the markets that Greece can avoid defaulting on its huge debts.