quinta-feira, 24 de dezembro de 2015
Yanis Varoufakis talks again, insults everybody
Yanis Varoufakis talks again, insults everybody
The ex-Greek finance minister closes out a difficult year by torching his former Eurogroup colleagues.
By LAURENS CERULUS 12/24/15, 6:06 AM CET Updated 12/24/15, 9:13 AM CET
Never waste an opportunity to antagonize — that could be Yanis Varoufakis’s motto.
The Greek economist who served as finance minister at the height of the country’s debt crisis this year lashed out yet again at his opponents.
In an interview published in Thursday’s edition of the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, Varoufakis took dozens of hard swings at those who have vilified him and his negotiation tactics. Among the greatest hits were Varoufakis claiming the Eurogroup is a place fit only for psychopaths, calling German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble a puppet master and bashing Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem as an ineffectual tool of the Germans.
Here are the highlights:
1. It was one big coup d’état
European partners came to an agreement with Tsipras’s left-wing government on a third bailout after a hot summer of tense negotiations and slow progress. Many still blame the Varoufakis for the disastrous turn of events.
Does Varoufakis agree?
“No! I won’t do that. It was nothing but a coup, one big coup d’état. And it succeeded,” he said.
“I’m not taking any responsibility for that,” he said. “My speeches were moderate, my plans measured, my advisors were not left-wing lunatics. There was another reason that the other side poured poison and lies over me, and portrayed me as a dangerous radical while I was the most right wing minister in the cabinet. If I was a crazy left-wing lunatic, they wouldn’t have been afraid of me.”
“No, they wanted to get rid of me because I knew what I was talking about.”
“My speeches were moderate, my plans measured, my advisors were not left-wing lunatics. If I was a crazy left-wing lunatic, they wouldn’t have been afraid of me” — Yanis Varoufakis
Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the Eurogroup of finance ministers, confirmed to the Dutch broadcaster NOS that he pushed Tsipras to pull out his finance minister. The Dutchman said he didn’t think Varoufakis had a mandate to negotiate, and thus “I went to do this with the prime minister instead,” he said in an interview to be broadcasted next Monday.
2. Dijsselbloem is a puppet, Schaüble his master
Varoufakis clashed repeatedly with his fellow finance ministers in the Eurogroup. Soothing the egos of politicians and power brokers was not his strong suit.
When asked who dominated the meetings, he said: “(German Finance Minister) Wolfgang
Schäuble. He’s the puppet master who pulls all the strings. All the other ministers are marionettes. Schäuble is the grandmaster of the Eurogroup. He decides who becomes the president, he determines the agenda, he controls everything.”
The Greek ex-minister is especially hard for Dijsselbloem. “[He] has no real power. Dijsselbloem has no authority; he is a soldier, a puppet … He can’t make any decisions without calling Schäuble.”
“Dijsselbloem is a cog in a machine that he doesn’t understand himself,” he said later in the interview. “There was absolutely no reason for me to speak with Jeroen because he was neither willing nor able to have a real discussion, let alone interested.”
But one leader gets praise from the Greek economist: the European Central Bank’s President Mario Draghi: “A formidable economist,” Varoufakis called him, adding that “Draghi is very frustrated by the suffocating limitations of his ECB mandate.”
3. Eurogroup is the place to be — if you’re a psychopath
“Anyone who speaks about blissful moments in the Eurogroup should be locked up immediately for being a dangerous lunatic,” the ex-minister said laughingly.
“The Eurogroup is a very unpleasant place, including for Schäuble, Dijsselbloem and the ECB president Draghi. Centers of power are stressful by definition, with big egos and continuous conflict.”
“If you’re a psychopath and you thrive on conflict, then the Eurogroup is the place to be.”
Asked whether it was a place for power-hungry politicians, he said: “Ultimately, almost no one has any power … [Individuals] power is undermined by opposing power, everyone cancels each other out. I’ve seen a lot of frustration in the Eurogroup.”
4. I was the only one with a sense of ethics
Varoufakis says that, apart from the first Eurogroup meeting he attended, “I recorded all the Eurogroup meetings. But no one got that information from me.”
“Among my colleagues who leaked all kinds of things — especially about me — I was the only one with a sense of ethics.”
“I recorded everything for one simple reason: Those meetings often lasted so terribly long that, afterwards, I could barely remember what exactly had been discussed and happened. Everything took place in a big haze,” said Varoufakis. “In a normal currency union, there would be confidential minutes that you could fall back on.”
5. I had more to swallow in 72 hours than most ministers in their whole career
“On my first day as the minister, I was told the country was going to go bankrupt in 11 days. On the third day, Eurogroup chair Jeroen Dijsselbloem visited and threatened to close all the Greek banks if I didn’t sign on the dotted line for an austerity package that I had denounced during the elections,” Varoufakis said.
“I had more to swallow within 72 hours than most ministers have to take in their whole career. Fortunately for them, by the way.”
6. I trusted blindly in Tsipras, wrongly
His strongest regret, Varoufakis said, is “that I trusted in the unity of the Greek government, or to be more precise: the unity within the war cabinet of seven people, including Prime Minister Tsipras and me.”
“I slept the way you sleep in the trenches in a real war: a few hours here and there, with all your senses on edge’ — Yanis Varoufakis
“We were together day and night during that time. I slept the way you sleep in the trenches in a real war: a few hours here and there, with all your senses on edge.”
“I trusted blindly in Tsipras, wrongly.”
“Tsipras surrendered to the demands of the Eurogroup – without consulting me,” he said.
The Greek ex-minister blames eurozone leaders to have driven a wedge between him and the prime minister.
“They said to Tsipras: If you want a deal, you have to get rid of Yanis … The Eurogroup was looking for a political way to eliminate me: It was a conspiracy. In [the bloc’s meeting in] Riga, they succeeded in playing me and Tsipras against each other.”