Greek PM reshuffles cabinet, retains key ministers

The move was an "operational improvement" to the government, as claimed by his government spokesman

Photo: Reuters Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Government spokesperson Stelios Petsas on Tuesday announced a small number of changes to the composition of the government, described as functional improvements, mainly at the level of deputy ministers.

"The prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, is completing the government formation, which remains unchanged in terms of its numbers and its reform policy directions," Petsas said, noting that the changes concern the finance, development, labour, health and environment sectors.

There were five changes in total, all aimed at helping the country manage effectively European funds that it has secured to tackle the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among them the promotions of Theodoros Skylakakis from deputy finance minister to Alternate Finance Minister responsible for fiscal policy and of Nikos Papathanasis from deputy development and investments minister to Alternate Development and Investments minister for private investment and public- and private-sector partnerships (PPPs).

New additions to the government were Panagiotis Tsakloglou, who becomes deputy labour and social affairs minister in charge of social insurance, the MP Zoi Rapti who will be deputy minister for health responsible for mental health issues and MP Nikolaos Tagaras as deputy environment and energy minister responsible for environmental protection.

Meanwhile, key ministers, including Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias remained in their posts.

The conservative premier's goal is to make the government scheme more efficient as the country tackles the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that has hurt its fragile economy emerging from a decade-long debt crisis.

"Kyriakos Mitsotakis has selected people from parliament and society, of different ages and experience, based on ability and a willingness to contribute regardless of ideological background," the spokesperson noted.

“With these changes (the government) seeks more effective administration of an increase in community funds,” he added.

Athens will be allocated around €72bn, part of a €750bn recovery fund that the European Union agreed last month to help members’ economies blighted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"The changes will also help protect workers and the pension system and help the government better tackle the challenges of our times”, Petsas said.

 It is the first cabinet reshuffle since Mitsotakis won elections in July 2019.

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