Samaras wants quick start from cabinet

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to assume his first executive powers as the country’s new leader on Wednesday when he signs decisions relating to the duties of the Cabinet, which was sworn in last week.

Samaras had asked his ministers last week to submit written reports by the weekend, delineating their areas of authority. The New Democracy leader wanted to move quickly on this administrative issue as it had taken the government of George Papandreou several months to complete the same task after coming to power in late 2009.

At the all-important Finance Ministry, Alternate Minister Christos Staikouras is due to be in charge of revenues, while Deputy Minister Giorgos Mavraganis will be responsible for public spending. At the Development Ministry, Minister Costis Hatzidakis will look after issues relating to European Union structural funds, transport and research and technology. Deputy Minister Stavros Kaloyiannis will take care of networks and infrastructure, while his fellow deputy, Notis Mitarakis, will be responsible for private investment.

In a bid to show that his premiership is not suffering from inactivity due to his recuperation from eye surgery, Samaras also issued instructions on Tuesday for ministerial committees and special secretariats in various government departments to be scrapped. The move is chiefly designed to cut down on expenses, as civil servants were paid bonuses for taking part in these panels.

Meanwhile, SYRIZA completed the process of forming a shadow cabinet. Economics professor Euclid Tsakalotos, who studied under Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras at Oxford University, will handle economic issues, another academic, Giorgos Stathakis, will deal with development matters, and labor lawyer Alexis Mitropoulos will focus on administrative reform.

A special committee, consisting of Mitropoulos, lawyer Zoe Konstantopoulos, economist Yiannis Dragasakis and former unionist Dimitris Stratoulis, has been formed to deal with matters relating exclusively to Greece’s bailout. 

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