Greek finance minister Vassilios Rapanos quits before he started in the job
Daniel Howden is Africa Correspondent for The Independent. He has reported from more than 50 countries covering everything from wars and elections to natural disasters and environmental crises. Special interests beyond Africa include southeast Europe, Latin America and global forests. A former Athens correspondent he has returned to Greece regularly during the European debt crisis. Now based in Nairobi, he acted as producer on the documentary 'Stolen Seas: Tales of Somali Piracy', winner of the Boccalino D'Oro prize at the 2012 Locarno film festival.
Tuesday 26 June 2012
Greece will enter Thursday's critical European summit in a state of disarray after its Finance Minister-designate resigned over health problems yesterday.
Vassilios Rapanos, the former head of the Bank of Greece, has been in hospital since Friday with stomach pains. The nature of his illness was not officially confirmed but it is known to be serious.
He quit in a letter to the new Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, who is recovering from eye surgery, and surprised most observers when he confirmed he would not be travelling to Brussels for the summit. Mr Samaras has instead left the task of wringing bailout concessions – which include more time to meet fiscal targets – to a delegation led by the new Foreign Minister. Greece's eurozone partners are already frustrated by political deadlock in Athens which has left the nation rudderless for two months while the financial crisis has deepened.
The departure of Mr Rapanos, left, who did not last long enough to be sworn in, will leave the responsibility for Greece's talks in the hands of George Zanias, the Finance Minister in the interim government. The econometrics professor, who has been one of the country's key negotiators during the past two years of bailout talks, is also in poor health after being hospitalised with chest pains during an EU summit in October.
Athens's ailing politicians have delayed an inspection by the EU, the IMF and the European Central Bank – without which the next loan payments cannot be made. The new government must also pass more than €11bn (£9bn) in fresh cuts before the end of June.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
World news in pictures
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.