Greek Finance Minister Quits Days Into The Job After Illness

The resignation letter from Rapanos, a former National Bank of Greece (TELL) SA chairman, was accepted by Samaras, according to a phone-text message from the premier’s office today. No further details were immediately available.

Finance Minister-designate Rapanos was hospitalized on June 22 for nausea and dizziness, days after Samaras’s New Democracy forged an agreement on a government with third-placed socialist Pasok and the Democratic Left party following June 17 elections.

Samaras himself is recuperating from eye surgery in Athens, and will miss his first summit of European Union leaders as premier later this week. President Karolos Papoulias was named to represent Greece.

Missing the summit may set back Samaras’s bid to ease the budget cuts demanded in exchange for emergency loans. EU leaders were due to grill him on his coalition’s plan to renegotiate the terms of a 130 billion-euro ($163 billion) rescue package. While Papoulias, a former foreign minister, will lead the delegation, Samaras will have advance phone talks with EU counterparts, according to a statement from his office.

Samaras and Rapanos’s illnesses meant a visit by the international creditors to determine how far Greece has slipped behind on budget targets that underpin access to the international funds was also suspended. The results of that visit are expected to be instrumental for Greek plans to push creditors to extend fiscal deadlines under the country’s bailout program by at least two years.

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