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Greece gets a former ECB banker as PM to implement the Euro rescue package

Friday, November 11th 2011 - 08:09 UTC
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Lucas Papademos, the Euro zone ‘a guarantee for monetary stability’ Lucas Papademos, the Euro zone ‘a guarantee for monetary stability’

Greece named banker Lucas Papademos as head of a new crisis government on Thursday, ending the country's chaotic search for a leader to save it from default, bankruptcy and expulsion from the Euro zone.

A solemn Papademos called on Greeks to unite behind him after months of divisive politicking, as he sets about securing a bailout from the European Union that will impose yet more hardship on a nation already suffering soaring unemployment.

“The choices we make will be decisive for the Greek people. The path will not be easy but I am convinced the problems will be resolved faster and at a smaller cost if there is unity, understanding and prudence,” Papademos said as he emerged from the coalition talks brokered by President Karolos Papoulias.

In a week when other European leaders started to openly question Athens' membership of the 17-currency bloc, the former European Central Bank vice-president stressed Greece's commitment to the Euro.

“I am convinced that the country's participation in the Euro zone is a guarantee for monetary stability,” he said after meeting outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou and the conservative opposition.

Papademos was left mulling the formation of a coalition government alone in his new prime ministerial office on Thursday night after talks ended with no indication of who the new cabinet would include.

Sources in both parties said Evangelos Venizelos was likely to remain as finance minister when Papoulias swears in the new cabinet, scheduled for midday Friday.

The EU two top officials, now facing a similar political crisis in “too big to fail” Italy welcomed news that Papademos had been named prime minister.

“We reiterate that our European institutions will continue to do everything within their power to help Greece. But Greece must also do everything within its power to help itself,” European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy, European Council President, said in a joint statement.

Papademos, a respected figure in European capitals and on financial markets, said the coalition had the specific task of implementing a 130-billion-Euro bailout deal with the Euro zone before calling an early election.

The 64-year-old cuts a grey and uncharismatic figure in the colourful and chaotic world of Greek politics, but Papademos also has a reputation for being calm at a time when the nation is clamouring for stability.

Political leaders had agreed the coalition should govern only until elections pencilled in for Feb. 19, but Papademos signalled he would not necessarily be bound by the date if work remained to be done.

Categories: Economy, International.

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