The general director of the Foundation of Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) Yiannis Stournaras will be Greece’s new finance minister, the prime minister’s press office announced on Tuesday.
Stournaras is due to meet Prime Minister Antonis Samaras at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening, at the same time as Samaras is scheduled to have a meeting with the leaders of the two junior parties in the coalition government, PASOK President Evangelos Venizelos and Democratic Left (Dem. Ar) leader Fotis Kouvelis.
In statements on Tuesday at the launch of a book by journalist Yiannis Papadoyiannis, Prof. Stournaras had expressed conviction that Greece was capable of emerging from the crisis, pointing out that roughly two billion euro had returned to the country’s banking system since the June 17 elections.
“There is a wall of established attitudes that does not want to hear that Greece has possibilities,” he said.
Born in Athens in 1956, Stournaras studied economics at Athens university and then a master’s degree and doctorate in economics from Oxford University in the UK. He is an economist and has been teaching macroeconomics and economic policy at Athens University since 1989.
Apart from his position at IOBE, his academic and professional interests are focused on macroeconomic theory, economic politics, international economics, public finances, monetary policy, bank finances, evaluation of investments, the repercussions of economic and monetary policy on the economy, the banking system and money and capital markets, the repercussions of financial system flaws on the real economy and energy economics.
His papers have been published in a number of academic journals and he was a Research Fellow and Lecturer at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University from 1981 until 1985. He returned to Greece in 1986 and worked as a special advisor of the finance ministry until 1989 on issues concerning public enterprises and revenue policy. From 1989 until 1994 he was a special consultant of the Bank of Greece on monetary policy and often represented the central bank at EU central bank governor meetings.
From 1994 until 2000 he chaired the finance ministry’s Financial Experts Council, where he participated in the planning of macroeconomic and structural policy (especially the convergence programmes) and often represented the finance ministry at the EU Economic and Monetary Committee, where he participated in the negotiations for Greece’s joining EMU and was in charge of annual consultation with international financial organisations such as the IMF, OECD and others.
He has also served as vice-president of the Public Gas Corporation (1994-1997) and was on the board of the Organisation for the Management of Public Debt from 1998-2000.
From July 2000 until March 2004 he was head of Emporiki Bank, during which time the bank was restructured and entered into an alliance with Credit Agricole.
From 2005 until 2008 he was on the board of the KAPPA stock brokerage and is now general manager of IOBE. His first government post was as development, competitiveness and shipping minister in the caretaker government of Panagiotis Pikrammenos on May 17 2012.
According to sources at the PASOK party, Stournaras was proposed by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos had agreed.
minister Vernicos resigns
Deputy Shipping & Aegean Minister George Vernicos on Tuesday offered his resignation to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras following earlier media reports and a statement issued by Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) alleging his participation in an offshore company. Such an event would be incompatible with his duties as a minister based on legislation passed in 2010. His resignation was accepted and, according to the government, there will be no replacement for the post.
The main opposition SYRIZA party on Tuesday demanded explanations from the government and the Deputy Shipping & Aegean Minister George Vernicos concerning his role in offshore companies, citing incompatibility with his political office in the event that he does.
SYRIZA underlined that Vernicos’ struggle against the Greek junta and in defence of democracy are deeply appreciated adding, however, that Law No. 3849/2010 article 6 clearly forbids the participation of government ministers and political figures in general, in offshore companies, providing for heavy sentences and fines in case of violations.
SYRIZA underlined that ministerial decision No. 3122.1/4566/24886 has approved the opening of an office or a branch of the Marshall Islands-based Vernicos Offshore Group S.A. in Greece and stressed that in case the deputy minister has any relation with the company, direct or indirect, it would be an obstacle to his becoming a government minister.