|Minister of Finance|
Assumed office |
23 September 2015
|Prime Minister||Alexis Tsipras|
|Preceded by||George Chouliarakis|
6 July 2015 – 28 August 2015
|Prime Minister||Alexis Tsipras|
|Preceded by||Yanis Varoufakis|
|Succeeded by||George Chouliarakis|
|Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations|
27 January 2015 – 6 July 2015
|Prime Minister||Alexis Tsipras|
|Member of the Hellenic Parliament|
for Athens B
Assumed office |
6 May 2012
1960 (age 55–56)|
Queen's College, Oxford|
University of Sussex
Mansfield College, Oxford
University of Kent (1989–1993)|
Athens University of Economics and Business (1993–2010)
University of Athens (2010–present)
Euclid Tsakalotos (Greek: Ευκλείδης Τσακαλώτος, officially Ευκλείδης Στεφάνου Τσακαλώτος, transcr. Efklidis Stefanou Tsakalotos, Greek pronunciation: [efˈkliðis steˈfanu t͜sakaˈlotos]; born 1960) is a left-wing Greek economist and politician who is the current Greek Minister of Finance. He is currently a member of the Central Committee of Syriza and has represented Athens B in the Hellenic Parliament since May 2012.
Tsakalotos was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, but moved to the United Kingdom at a young age. He went to St Paul's School in London before studying Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen's College, Oxford. He went on to complete a master's degree at the Institute of Development Studies, part of the University of Sussex, and returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate in economics under the supervision of Włodzimierz Brus, which he did in 1989. From 1989 to 1993, Tsakalotos worked at the University of Kent, where he met his partner, Heather D. Gibson. He moved to Greece, and taught at the Athens University of Economics and Business from 1994 to 2010, becoming a professor of economics. Since 2010, he has been a professor of economics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. He has written a number of books in both Greek and English, and has been published in a range of different academic journals.
Tsakalotos joined Synaspismos in the early 1990s, and was elected to the Central Committee of Syriza in 2004. He was first elected as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Athens B in the May 2012 legislative election, and has been re-elected in every election since. In opposition from 2012 to 2015, he was Syriza's shadow finance minister. When Syriza entered government in January 2015, Tsakalotos was appointed as an Alternate Minister within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In April, he took over as head of Greece's negotiating team on the third bailout package. On 6 July 2015, following Yanis Varoufakis's resignation, Tsakalotos was appointed as Minister of Finance. He was re-appointed in September 2015 following the snap legislative election.
Early life and education
Tsakalotos was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in 1960. He is the son of Stefanos Tsakalotos, a civil engineer who worked in the shipping industry, and the family relocated to the United Kingdom in 1965 when the younger Tsakolotos was five years old. He attended St Paul's School, London from 1973 to 1978. Some sources also claim that Tsakalotos attended Eton College. In St Paul's School's alumni magazine, he praised his former schoolmaster Keith Perry, stating that the teacher did "much to bolster [his] self confidence". Tsakalotos, along with his close friend Owen Tudor, set up the school's Economics and Politics Society (known as Polecon), and in later years George Osborne, who went on to become the British Chancellor of the Exchequer, was a member.
Tsakalotos went on to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the Queen's College, Oxford. Whilst at the Queen's College, Tsakalotos was an admirer of both Gerald Cohen and Andrew Glyn, and in his spare time took part in protests against Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. During this time, he also reportedly became a supporter of Irish republicanism. One of his university friends at this time, Yannis Stournaras, later became a Greek finance minister and served as Governor of the Bank of Greece. Following graduation, he completed a master's degree (MPhil) at the Institute of Development Studies, part of the University of Sussex. He then returned to Oxford to complete a doctorate (DPhil) in economics, studying at Mansfield College. He completed this doctorate in 1989 under the supervision of Włodzimierz Brus, with his thesis, Alternative Economic Strategies: The Case of Greece, later being published as a book.:ix
Tsakaklotos's first academic role was as a research associate at the University of Kent, from 1989 to 1990. From October 1990 to June 1993, he taught at the university as a lecturer. In 1993, Tsakalotos and his wife returned to Greece, and in October 1994 he began teaching at the Athens University of Economics and Business. He became a full professor, but since September 2010, he has been a professor of economics at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, more commonly referred to simply as the University of Athens. Vassilis Alevromitis, a former student of his, has recalled that Tsakalotos's classes were often "packed".
Tsakalotos has written a number of books and articles on Greek and international economic policies, alone and in cooperation with other academics and writers. He has co-authored a number of works with his wife, who has also served as editor for some of the works that he has written alone. A detailed list and further treatment of select works can be found in Works, below. He has also been involved with trade unions, having served as a member of the executive committee of the Hellenic Federation of University Teachers' Associations (POSDEP). In the mid-2000s, Tsakalotos led his students in a several months-long protest against proposed reforms to the Greek education system. Thanos Tsouknidas, an accountant that knew Tsakalotos at the time, said: "He was there, involved in the struggle. We were fighting together."
Some of Tsakalotos's work has sparked debate in academic circles, leading to some articles being published in response to his work. This includes Educating Capitalists: A Rejoinder to Wright and Tsakalotos by Wolfgang Streeck, as well as Tsakalotos on "Homo Economicus": Some Comments by Guglielmo Carchedi.
Early political career
When at the University of Oxford, Tsakalotos joined the student wing of the eurocommunist Communist Party of Greece (Interior). In the early 1990s, shortly after moving to Greece, he joined Synaspismos, which eventually became the largest constituent party of Syriza. Tsakalotos was a prominent member of Synaspismos and he was a member of their Central Political Committee and their Political Secretariat, before the party dissolved in 2013 to form Syriza. Tsakalotos is also currently member of the Central Committee of Syriza, having been elected to it in December 2004. Tsakalotos stood as a Syriza candidate for Preveza in the 2004 legislative election.
Tsakalotos has been heavily involved in the creation of Syriza's economic policy and has been described as the "brains behind Syriza's economic policy". Tsakalotos is one member of Syriza's "economic quartet", alongside John Milios, Giorgos Stathakis and Yannis Dragasakis. He has been named as one author of the Thessaloniki Programme.
“ Some things which are now seen as unrealistic will change with the political balance of forces. ” — Euclid Tsakalotos, LSE meeting
In the May 2012 legislative election, Tsakalotos was elected as a Member of the Hellenic Parliament for Syriza representing Athens B and he was re-elected on 17 June 2012. Following his election in May 2012, Tsakalotos was interviewed by Emma Alberici on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program Lateline. Whilst in opposition in the Hellenic Parliament from June 2012 to January 2015, Tsakalotos had responsibility for economic affairs in the Shadow Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras.
In September 2013, Tsakalotos's book written with Christos Laskos, Crucible of Resistance, was published in the United Kingdom by Pluto Press. On 26 November 2013, Tsakalotos took part in an Intelligence Squared debate on the subject "Angela Merkel is Destroying Europe". Tsakalotos argued for the motion alongside Mehdi Hasan, whilst Antony Beevor and Christine Ockrent argued against the motion. The debate was chaired by Nik Gowing.
A few days before the 2015 legislative election, Tsakalotos was quizzed, via Skype, by a number of economists, debt campaigners and investment analysts at the London School of Economics. Amongst them were Christopher Pissarides and Panicos O. Demetriades. The meeting was organised by Mary Kaldor and Paul Mason. Tsakalotos said that Greece needed "fiscal space", meaning in practice several billion Euros to spend on growth-promoting measures.
Responding to "why annoy the Europeans over market reform issues when your main problem is debt?", Tsakalotos said: "In any transition period there is a clash of realities. In the 1930s people considered the eventual solutions, at first, to be unrealistic. It’s the same this time round. At first, in the euro crisis there was to be no bailout. Then no buying of government debt. Then no QE. Each of these things have happened. Some things which are now seen as unrealistic will change with the political balance of forces."
First term in government
Two days after the legislative election on 25 January 2015, when Alexis Tsipras formed his cabinet, Tsakalotos was appointed to the position of 'Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations' in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. This position made him subordinate to Nikos Kotzias, the Minister for Foreign Affairs. Speaking to the Old Pauline News, the alumni magazine of St Paul's School, Tsakalotos described his role as follows: "[It] means coordinating our approach to promoting exports and attracting investment. It also means upgrading our economic diplomacy which needs to go beyond traditional sectors, for instance exporting olive oil and importing capital goods."
On 7 March, Tsakalotos, representing Syriza, spoke at the 2015 Sinn Féin ardfheis. He was introduced by Lynn Boylan, and said during his speech that both Sinn Féin and Syriza are "part of a great realignment in European politics". The leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, embraced Tsakalotos on the stage following the speech. He reportedly spent several hours afterwards in talks with senior members of Sinn Féin. The Financial Times later commented on this, saying it was a "moment of bonding" between Syriza and Sinn Féin.
On 27 April, Tsakalotos was made the coordinator of the Greek group negotiating with lender's representatives over a bailout plan. This move was largely seen as sidelining Yanis Varoufakis, the Minister of Finance, but the markets reacted positively to the move.
On 6 July, the day after the Greek bailout referendum, the Minister of Finance, Yanis Varoufakis, resigned. As Varoufakis left the Finance Ministry, he suggested to reporters that Tsakalotos was likely to succeed him. Subsequently, Tsakalotos was chosen to succeed Varoufakis and was sworn in later on 6 July. In the process of this, Tsakalotos relinquished his previous ministerial position of Alternate Minister for International Economic Relations. Tsakalotos was noted for his differences with Varoufakis, for example the Financial Times noted that he "could hardly be more different from his flamboyant predecessor". At a press conference shortly following his appointment, Tsakalotos said: "I cannot hide from you that I am quite nervous. I am not taking on this job at the easiest point in Greek history."
Tsakalotos's first official meeting as Minister of Finance was on 7 July and was an emergency meeting of the Eurogroup. Tsakalotos brought a note with him that reminded him to display "no triumphalism" after the 'No' vote in the Greek bailout referendum. Following the talks, he was described as "Much better than Varoufakis". Tsakalotos attended nine hours of talks as part of a Eurogroup meeting on 11 July. In the "tough, even violent" atmosphere of the talks, Tsakalotos remained notably calm and collected. One participant, following the talks, said: "I don't know if it's because he's tired or just the way he is, but he can really soak up the pressure."
On 16 July, Tsakalotos spoke before the Hellenic Parliament to encourage them to support the terms of the tenth austerity package, the first of a series of 'prior actions', which were "austerity measures demanded by Greece even before negotiations were to open up over the summer on a third bailout and referendum." He said in his speech: "I made a decision that will burden me for the rest of my life. I don't know if we did the right thing, however I do know that we felt like we had no other choice but do what we did." The proposals were opposed by 109 out of 201 members of the Central Committee of Syriza, and 32 Syriza MPs voted against the measures, as well as six who abstained and one who did not vote. Following the debate, there was a cabinet reshuffle on 17 July, but Tsakalotos retained his role as Minister of Finance.
The second set of measures in the tenth austerity package, or the second set of 'prior actions', were debated and voted on the 23 July, with Tsakalotos beginning the debate, and urging a vote in favour of the measures. Tsakalotos was criticised for his speech, with Ovenden writing that "[his] argument made him sound little different from the kind of kindergarten exchanges which had characterised Pasok and New Democracy over the years." On 14 August, Tsakalotos led the debate on the eleventh austerity package, by calling the package "a very tough agreement with many thorns." During the "fiery" debate, he engaged heavily with the acting President of New Democracy, Vangelis Meimarakis, who criticised Tsakalotos for being "provocative". During the debate, Zoi Konstantopoulou, the Speaker of the Hellenic Parliament, raised so many procedural questions and objections, that Tsakalotos missed the 9:30am vote as he had to catch a flight to Brussels. In Brussels later that day, negotiations were concluded for the Third Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece.
On 20 August, Tsipras announced the resignation of the Syriza-ANEL government, and that a legislative election was scheduled for 20 September. Tsakalotos and the rest of the cabinet remained as lame duck ministers whilst opposition parties attempted to form their own government. However, the opposition parties failed to form a government and Vassiliki Thanou-Christophilou was appointed as an interim Prime Minister on 27 August. On 28 August, Thanou-Christophilou's caretaker cabinet was sworn in, with George Chouliarakis being sworn in as the interim Minister of Finance.
Second term in government
Reportedly, Tsakalotos was considering not running in the September 2015 legislative election, as he did not wish to implement the bailout agreement. However, these fears were assuaged by Alexis Tsipras when he said there was no doubt that Tsakalotos would stand in the election. He also claimed that, during the election campaign, without Tsakalotos's involvement, there would have been no bailout package. In recognition of that, Tsakalotos was made to head the list for Syriza in Athens B. In an interview during the campaign, Tsakalotos admitted that the Greek government had suffered "defeat" during negotiations with creditors, implying that some responsibility for this lay with Varoufakis.
Following the re-election of the Syriza-ANEL coalition, Tsakalotos was tipped to resume the role of Minister of Finance, however he was reportedly reluctant to do so. Nevertheless, he was reappointed as Minister of Finance on 23 September, as part of the Second Cabinet of Alexis Tsipras. Chouliarakis, the interim Minister of Finance, was retained in the finance ministry as an Alternate Minister of Finance. Later in September, in an interview with the Financial Times, Tsakalotos said that it was "absolutely critical that we get something on debt relief." He added: "By the second quarter of 2016, if we get a positive review, bank recapitalisation and debt relief, I don’t see any reason why there shouldn’t be a return to growth." He also said that the new government would make serious attempts to crack down on tax evasion: "It will be a central aspect of our policies, which will determine the success of the government, because it’s the only way the Greek people will accept difficult measures that show we’re all in the same boat."
At the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank between 9 and 11 October 2015, Tsakalotos had a number of meetings with high-level attendees. On 8 January 2016, Tsakalotos began a tour of European cities, including Rome, Lisbon, Paris, Helsinki and Berlin, meeting with finance ministers, prior to a Eurogroup meeting on 14 January. In February 2016, Spyros Economides, Director of the Hellenic Observatory, commented on Tsakalotos' performance as Minister of Finance: "In some ways he has done an extremely good job because the mess left by his predecessor both in substantive and presentational terms was horrific."
Tsakalotos has been described as a "Marxist", and Ovenden has written that "While Keynes is the main economic reference point for Varoufakis, who opposed the Brussels deal, for Tsakalotos, who signed it, Marx is more that guide to economic and political analysis." Paul Mason described Tsakalotos as a "classic Marxist of the New Left," continuing that "Tsakalotos comes from that school of Marxism which learned from the 1970s onwards to make compromises with capitalist reality." In an interview with the Financial Times in September 2015, following his re-appointment, he said: "I’m one of the government’s most leftwing ministers, politically speaking. However, I want to do things like the recapitalisation of the banks. I can do things that aren’t particularly leftwing."
Tsakalotos is also a leading member of the Group of 53, a prominent faction within Syriza. One report names him as the leader of the Group. The Group was founded in mid-2014 and stands ideologically between the Left Platform and Alexis Tsipras's core backers. After the Left Platform split from Syriza to Popular Unity, the Group of 53 became the most left-wing faction within Syriza.
Tsakalotos has been described as a "Revolutionary Europeanist", as he supports European Union integration but not its capitalist principles. In one article, he wrote: "[the] European Monetary Union has created a split between [the] core and periphery, and relations between the two are hierarchical and discriminatory." Tsakalotos has also advocated for a "change in [the] architecture" of the Eurozone. In a May 2012 interview on Lateline, Tsakalotos said: "At the moment the Eurozone is at risk, not because of the Greek radical left - it's at risk because it has an architecture, a financial and economic architecture that is evidently unable to deal with the crisis in the Eurozone, and we think part of the solution is a change in that architecture."
In 2013, Tsakalotos's large estate proved detrimental to him and his party when his critics began calling him «αριστερός αριστοκράτης» (aristeros aristokratis, "aristocrat of the left"). Newspapers opposed to Syriza seized on his property holdings as a chance to accuse the couple of hypocrisy for enjoying a generous lifestyle in private while criticizing the ethics of austerity in public. One opposition newspaper published on the front page criticism reasoning that Tsakalotos's own family wealth came from the same sort of investments in companies as made by financial institutions JP Morgan and BlackRock.
Tsakalotos is married to Heather D. Gibson, a Scottish economist currently serving as Director-Advisor to the Bank of Greece and his ofttimes research and writing partner. They met when Tsakalotos was teaching at the University of Kent and they later married in Canterbury. The couple have three children and maintain two homes in Kifisia, along with an office in Athens and a holiday home in Preveza, all courtesy of a large estate belonging to Tsakalotos's father. Through his father, Euclid Tsakalotos is the first cousin twice-removed (great-grandnephew) of Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos, who served as Chief of the Hellenic Army General Staff from 1951 to 1952. Tsakalotos has been quoted as saying that his great-granduncle fought on the "...other side, the wrong side..." in the Greek Civil War, and was worried that his great-grandnephew would become a "...liberal, [but] certainly not anything further to the left."
- Crucible of Resistance: Greece, the Eurozone and the World Economic Crisis (with Christos Laskos, Pluto Press, London, Chicago: 2013), ISBN 074533380X
- 22 Πράγματα που μας λένε για την ελληνική κρίση και δεν είναι έτσι (English: 22 Things they tell you about the Greek Crisis which are not so; with Christos Laskos, KPSM Publications: 2012), ISBN 9789606750700
- Χωρίς επιστροφή (English: No Return; with Christos Laskos, KPSM Publications: 2011), ISBN 9789606750595
- Corporatism and Economic Performance: A Comparative Analysis of Market Economies (with Andrew Henley, Edward Elgar Publishing: 1993) ISBN 185278539X
- Alternative Economic Strategies: The Case of Greece (Avebury Publishers, Aldershot: 1991), ISBN 1856281833
Articles and papers
- "Contesting Greek exceptionalism: the political economy of the current crisis" (Working Paper, 2010 for the 2011 London School of Economics Hellenic Observatory-British School at Athens Joint Conference) PDF
- "Homo economicus and the reconstruction of political economy: six theses on the role of values in economics" (Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 29, pp. 893–908, 2005)
- "Capital flows and speculative attacks in prospective EU member states" (with Heather D. Gibson, Economics of Transition, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp. 559–586, September 2004)
- "Is attack the best form of defence? A competing risks analysis of acquisition activity in the UK" (with Andrew Dickerson and Heather D. Gibson, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp. 337–357, 2003)
- "A unifying framework for analysing offsetting capital flows and sterilisation: Germany and the ERM" (with Sophocles Brissimis and Heather D. Gibson, International Journal of Finance & Economics, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp. 63–78, 2002)
- "Internal vs external financing of acquisitions: Do managers squander retained profits" (with Andrew Dickerson and Heather D. Gibson, Studies in Economics, 1996; Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2000)
- "Are aggregate consumption relationships similar across the European Union" (with Alan Carruth and Heather D. Gibson, Regional Studies, Volume 33, Issue 1, 1999)
- "Business cycle correspondence in the European Union" (with Andrew Dickerson, Empirica – Journal of European Economics, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp. 49–75, 1998)
- "Takeover risk and the market for corporate control: the experience of British firms in the 1970s and 1980" (with Andrew Dickerson and Heather D. Gibson, International Journal of Industrial Organization, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp. 1167–1195, 1998) PDF
- "The political economy of social democratic economic policies: The PASOK experiment in Greece" (Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 114–138, 1998)
- "Deterring takeover: Evidence from a large panel of UK firms" (Empirica – Journal of European Economics, 1997)
- "The impact of acquisitions on company performance: Evidence from a large panel of UK firms" (with Andrew Dickerson and Heather D. Gibson, Oxford Economic Papers, New Series, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp. 344–361, July 1997)
- "Short-termism and underinvestment: The influence of financial systems" (with Andrew Dickerson and Heather D. Gibson, The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp. 351–67, 1995)
- "The scope and limits of financial liberalisation in developing countries: A critical survey" (Journal of Development Studies, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp. 578–628, 1994)
- "Income inequality in corporatist and liberal economies: a comparison of trends within OECD countries" (International Review of Applied Economics, 1994)
- "Testing a flow model of capital flight in five European countries" (with Heather D. Gibson, The Manchester School of Economic and Social Studies, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp. 144–166, June 1993)
- "Corporatism and the European labour market after 1992" (with Andrew Henley, British Journal of Industrial Relations, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp. 567–586, 1992)
- "European Monetary Union and macroeconomic policy in Southern Europe: The case for positive integration" (Journal of Public Policy, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp. 249–273, July 1991)
- Hellenic Parliament: MPs' contact details Note: Modern Greek middle names are typically a patronymic in the genitive case; thus, Stefanou from his father's name, Stefanos.
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|Minister of Finance
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|Minister of Finance