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Theocharis' Resignation Disturbs EU

While Greece was gripped by the “will he-won't he” thriller of Mr Theocharis' resignation, in Brussels there was disappointment and frustration by this development, causing “deep concern.”

Those were the words used by the EU Commission spokesperson Simon O'Connor to describe how the European bloc sees the resignation of Haris Theocharis, considered as one of the buttresses of the government's resolve to follow through with reforms. One EU official was quoted as saying: “How can one ask an independent person to resign?”

More specifically Mr O'Connor noted the following:

"The Commission has taken note of the resignation of Haris Theoharis, the Secretary General for Public Revenues in Greece.

Since his appointment as Secretary General of Public Revenues in February 2013, to head a semi-autonomous administration within the Finance Ministry, Mr Theoharis has played a key role in modernising and digitising the tax administration, increasing revenue collection rates, and implementing major new tax reforms for income and property taxes. The revenue administration plays a key role in the reform programme and this development is a cause of serious concern.

It is essential that the government ensures full continuity in the delivery of planned reforms to improve the efficiency of the administration, combat fraud and evasion, and secure increasing government revenues. As Vice President Rehn has stated on more than one occasion in the past, this is not only a matter of economic efficiency, but also of social justice.

As such, in conjunction with our ECB and IMF partners, we will continue to closely monitor the Greek government's commitment to a more autonomous revenue administration, as well as commitments to establish rigorous, transparent and merit based processes for the appointment of senior managers in the Greek public sector.

We look forward to a rigorous, transparent and merit-based process for the appointment of Mr Theoharis' successor, to ensure high standards of integrity and independence."

The other issue that has irked Brussels is the abrupt and unannounced closing of parliament, as many EU officials were wondering how parliament could shut down when a whole series of pre-conditions must be legislated immediately.

The pre-conditions set by the Troika for the disbursement of the next aid tranche, which are set to be approved by the Eurogroup on 13 June, but will now be postponed after the parliament's shutdown.