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Greece's top negotiator Euclid Tsakalotos takes over as FM

Tsakalotos is likely to redouble efforts to put one of the most contentious issues in the five months of financial aid negotiations between Greece and its creditors back on the table.

Greece new Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (Photo: Reuters) Greece new Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos (Photo: Reuters)

Greece's top negotiator in aid talks with creditors, Euclid Tsakalotos, has taken over as the new finance minister on Monday after the resignation of Yanis Varoufakis.

"I am leaving and I will see you on Tuesday with Mr. Tsakalotos," Varoufakis, who resigned earlier on Monday, had said as he left the finance ministry.

Tsakalotos, the mild-tempered professor who was appointed as Greece's new finance minister on Monday, is a clear change in style from his combative predecessor Varoufakis.

But if European officials expect Athens' new finance chief, who has already been a key negotiator in drawn-out meetings between the Greek government and creditors, to take a softer approach in the substance of new talks, they can think again.

As the brainchild of Syriza's economic thinking, Tsakalotos is likely to redouble efforts to put one of the most contentious issues in the five months of financial aid negotiations between Greece and its creditors - debt relief - back on the table.

In a news conference after being sworn in, Tsakalotos said he was anxious about the task before him. "I cannot hide from you that I am quite nervous. I am not taking on this job at the easiest point in Greek history," he said.

But the minister, who sat beside his predecessor, said he was keen to restart talks with European partners, in order to act on a decision taken by Greeks in a Sunday referendum to reject previous terms offered by creditors in exchange for aid.

"We want to continue discussions, to take this mandate given to us by the Greek people (to strive) for something better...for all these people who have been suffering so much."

Like Varoufakis, Tsakalotos has often decried Europe for big democratic deficiencies and argued that ill-guided fiscal austerity imposed by the core of the euro zone has unnecessarily impoverished Greece and other countries on the periphery.