Published: 12:30, 05 May 2015
Greece’s chief negotiator tasked with saving his country from bankruptcy is a former Kent University lecturer, it can be revealed.
Euclid Tsakalotos is heading talks to release a further £5.2billion in bail-out funds to stave off his nation’s creditors.
The 55-year-old has hit headlines in recent days for taking over the lead role in crisis meetings with the EU.
But Tsakalotos, Greece’s deputy foreign minister, began his career as a Canterbury-based academic before entering politics.
The Dutch-born financier studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University, completing a PhD in 1989.
Later that year he moved to the city to take up a post lecturing at the University of Kent.
“Mr Tsakalotos arrived in 1989 as a research associate and became a lecturer in economics in 1990,” a spokesman for the college confirmed.
He left in June 1993 to start a lecturing job in Athens.
Tsakalotos, who speaks with an English accent, was elected to the Greek parliament as a member of the left-wing Syriza party in May 2012.
He has now replaced Greece’s leather-clad Yanis Varoufakis to represent his people in negotiations with the European Union.
Greece desperately needs the next tranche of its bailout to survive – worth around £5.2billion – but is at loggerheads with Europe and the International Monetary Fund over what is required to release the funds.
If Greece does not sign up to painful reforms in order to secure fresh funding, it may not be able to repay the IMF the £720million it owes next month.
Failure to repay the money would lead to default – and could force Greece out of the euro.
Tsakalotos was said to have drafted in to calm tensions after Varoufakis had been branded a “time-waster” in bail-out talks.
Tsakalotos, a son of a wealthy civil engineer, is known to reject the showier perks of office.
However, the left-wing politician is said to hold around 1 million Euro in stocks and bonds and has previously been labelled a capitalist by opponents.
He reportedly said: “There is a moral issue. But what was I supposed to do? Take my salary and stash it under the mattress? No one can deny the capitalist reality we all live in.”