Euclid Tsakalotos: The Champagne Socialist Who Is Greece’s New Finance Minister


Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has nominated the successor to outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis who announced his surprise resignation earlier today.

Euclid Tsakalotos has been up to now Greece’s “Alternative Foreign Minister” focussing on purely economic affairs. As Varoufakis increasingly infuriated his European colleagues, Tsakalotos took on many of his responsibilities.

He was appointed head of Greece’s negotiation team, and eventhough his politics are hardly any different from his predecessor, European leaders may appreciate his more conciliatory style.

He is also from a wealthy background and spent much of his life in Britain. Business Insider writes:

Though he is about as far from the British Conservative party as one could be in European politics, he does share something with UK Chancellor George Osborne — they both went to St. Paul’s, the elite London private school.

There was no crossover, because Tsakalotos is 11 years older than Osborne.

He went on to study Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) at Oxford, the degree beloved by UK members of parliament. Like Varoufakis, he is a trained economist, with a Ph.D. in the subject, also from Oxford.

Greek Reporter adds:

He is the nephew of decorated General of the Greek Army Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos who participated in World War I, the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922 and World War II, rising to become Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff (HAGF) and played a significant role during the Greek Civil War.

From day one in his new position, Tsakalotos will have to deal with an economy in crisis. Banks remain shuttered and capital controls are in place, fuelling fears of food and medicine shortages.

Ordinary Greeks can withdraw only €60 a day from the banks, and with cash supplies running perilously low it looks highly unlikely they will open on Tuesday.