Euclid Tsakalotos was named Greece's finance minister Monday. Tsakalotos, 55, will take over negotiations with Greece's creditors for new bailout terms after his predecessor, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned earlier Monday amid the perception that he would be a roadblock to talks.
Tsakalotos takes the position from the outspoken Varoufakis after the Greek people confidently voted against austerity in a referendum Sunday despite the possibility of being booted from the eurozone. More than 60 percent of voters rejected bailout terms, which included wage adjustment and tax increases but no debt relief. Varoufakis announced his resignation in a blog post, and Tsakalotos was named his successor by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras hours later.
Tsakalotos was the preferred choice of his predecessor. When asked if Tsakalotos would take the job, Varoufakis said, "I hope so," according to Business Insider. Now Tsakalotos has a long road of negotiations ahead of him.
"It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favor of the needy and real reforms," said Varoufakis in the blog post announcing his resignation. "The superhuman effort to honor the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning."
Tsakalotos is an economist largely trained in the United Kingdom. He earned his degrees, both undergraduate and Ph.D., from Oxford University. His undergraduate degree was in politics, philosophy and economics, and his Ph.D. was in economics. Before Oxford, Tsakalotos attended the prestigious St. Paul's private school in London.
Following an academic career, Tsakalotos entered Greek politics in 2012 after being a member of the leftist Syriza party for nearly a decade. He entered parliament three years ago, which gives him far more experience in politics than his predecessor Varoufakis, who joined just six months ago. Tsakalotos has authored or co-authored six books, the most recent of which explored the causes of Greece's economic troubles, according to the Telegraph. He has also written papers and articles on the Greek economic crisis.
When Tsipras' Syriza party won election in January, Tsakalotos became alternate finance minister behind Varoufakis. His main role became negotiating with Greece's creditors in April, after Varoufakis was pushed aside as he grew unpopular with his European counterparts.
While some parts of Syriza support a "Grexit," Tsakalotos reportedly backs staying with the euro if possible, according to the Telegraph.