Greek PM Mitsotakis leaves key jobs unchanged in new year reshuffle

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis reshuffled his cabinet on Monday in an attempt to give a boost to his conservative government, but left key ministers in place to give policy continuity for the economy and foreign affairs.

As Greece aims to reopen schools next week and start mass vaccinations this month, the government is keen to kickstart the economy after the pandemic destroyed hopes of recovery last year.

To face the challenges, Mitsotakis has switched some ministers around and brought in a new faces, including Athens University Professor Christos Tarantilis, who was appointed government spokesman to help polish the government’s image.

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“Every government needs to demonstrate flexibility at the right time,” Tarantilis said, announcing the cabinet line-up.

Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Defense Minister Nikos Panagiotopoulos remain in place, as tensions with Turkey over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean have grown in recent months.

Harry Theoharis also keeps his job as Tourist Minister, a role that is also central to the Greek economy.

Kostas Skrekas was moved from deputy agriculture minister to take over the energy ministry from Kostis Hatzidakis, who has moved to the labour ministry.

The economy is expected to have declined by some 10 percent in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, and hopes for strong recovery are pinned on the second half of 2021. Greece emerged from a decade-long debt crisis in 2018.

The country has reported 139,447 infections and 4,881 related deaths since its first case of the novel coronavirus was detected in February. The latest changes were announced during a nationwide lockdown, the second since the coronavirus outbreak.

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