The wait is over. Greece has finally agreed on a new prime minister.
After more than three days of deliberations, former European Central Bank vice-president, Lucas Papademos, has emerged as the man who will try to save the country from default.
“The honor is great and the responsibility that I take on is greater. I am not a politician, but I have devoted the largest part of my professional life to the practice of economic policy in Greece and in Europe. The Greek economy continues to face huge problems, despite the huge efforts that have been made for fiscal consolidation and improvement of competition. Greece is at a critical crossroads.”
Crucially, Papademos is respected by financial markets and across Europe. And the Greek people have welcomed him, too.
The new coalition was sworn in today. And Papademos reportedly drove a hard bargain before agreeing to take the job – demanding that both major parties support the 130 billion-euro bailout package, despite its unpalatable austerity measures.
“The road will not be easy. But I’m convinced that the problems will be solved and they will be solved faster and with less cost and in a more effective way if there is unity, cooperation and coordination.”
The irony of his appointment, though, is that he helped Greece make the transition from the drachma to the euro in the first place.
Bottom line: Technocrat Lucas Papademos is the new Prime Minister of Greece – and the man charged with leading the country out of its economic mess.