Profile: Lucas Papademos

Lucas Papademos - 6 October 2005 Mr Papademos is seen as an advocate of fiscal discipline

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Lucas Papademos, Greece's technocrat new prime minister, is a former European Central Bank (ECB) vice-president who is seen as well placed to handle the debt crisis.

The 64-year-old is well known in Europe's capitals.

As head of the Bank of Greece, he oversaw his country's move from the drachma to the euro in 2002.

More recently, as an adviser to outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou, he took part in the negotiations between Athens and the "troika" of international creditors (the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank) bailing out the Greek government.

His career has crossed the academic and policymaking worlds.

After finishing secondary school in Greece, Mr Papademos moved to the US where he studied physics and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

For his PhD, however, he switched to economics, graduating with his thesis on employment and anti-inflation policy in 1977.

After a stint at Columbia University in New York, Mr Papademos returned to Greece where he joined the central bank as its chief economist in 1985.

The role gave him a chance to put his academic experience into practice.

Fiscal conservative

In 1994 he became governor of the Bank of Greece, where he worked to stabilise the Greek economy so that it could join the eurozone.

He argued the benefits of the single currency, saying: "The macroeconomic and microeconomic benefits for Europe and Greece from the introduction of the euro are enormous."

Critics say as central bank governor he should have been in a position to know of inaccuracies in Greece's budget figures during the run-up to joining the euro, a charge he has denied.

He left the Bank of Greece in 2002 and became vice-president of the ECB under Jean-Claude Trichet, a position he left last year to serve as an adviser to George Papandreou.

He has said that monetary policy - the supply of money and setting of interest rates handled by central banks - is not enough to address inadequate growth in Europe.

"We have to use other policy instruments and implement reforms which can increase the economy's long-term potential growth rate," the European Voice website quoted him as saying. "We need supply-side measures."

Supply-side policies aim to boost growth through lowering the barriers to people to supply goods or services - usually seen as lowering taxes and reducing regulation.

During his time at the ECB, Mr Papademos was seen as a strong advocate of fiscal and budgetary discipline. He shared Mr Trichet's view that the ECB should not play a large role in bailing out highly indebted eurozone governments.

As prime minister, he will have to convince the Greek public that further austerity measures are needed to eventually restore the economy to health while keeping the two major parties - socialist and conservative - from playing damaging short-term political games, analysts say.

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