It just keeps getting worse in Greece. With the leaders of the eurozone all exhaling after the election of “centrist” Antonis Samaras, thinking that maybe the Greeks will toe the line set by the Germans, they learn who the new Greek finance minister is:
Antonis Samaras, the Greek centre-right leader, has made a surprise appointment to the post of finance minister, choosing a career public servant with a close knowledge of the country’s finances and a radical leftwing past.
Vassilios Rapanos will take the key finance portfolio and may attend today’s Luxembourg meeting of eurozone finance ministers. …
“After 30 years working on Greek public finances. . . I think I now have quite a good knowledge of them,” the new minister told the Financial Times on Wednesday. …
During a long career in public service, Mr Rapanos headed an influential state think-tank and planning office, for a decade, working on public finances and institutional economics, and teaches at Athens university. …
He is well known in Greece for his involvement in a leftwing resistance group that staged bomb attacks against targets linked to the military junta that ruled the country between 1967 and 1974.
After the group was unmasked by the secret police, Mr Rapanos, then a student of economics and business, was convicted by a military court and sentenced to a four-year prison term.
This included a spell in the notorious Ottoman-era Yedi Kule jail in the northern city of Thessaloniki, where Mr Rapanos unexpectedly found a mentor: Sakis Karageorgas, a leading leftwing Greek economist jailed in a cell on the same corridor.
“Jail became my university,” Mr Rapanos said. “It was a fortunate experience. I read a lot of books and I discovered how strong you can be in such circumstances.”
If this wasn’t a serious matter, one might think this was something out of a Monty Python skit. I am left with the thought that nothing will change in Greece. Think Argentina.