Yanis Varoufakis is on the defense. Answering to a host of critics who accuse him of a destructive negotiation process with Greece’s lenders (among them, even his former Premier and friend, Alexis Tsipras, who admitted that while adding considerable momentum to the negotiations in the beginning, Varoufakis consequently became a ‘sinker’ for the Syriza-led government), Varoufakis just wrote a letter explaining how much he really cost the Greek people.
And how much is that? Yes, you’ve guessed it right! According to Varoufakis himself, the cost of his negotiation shenanigans amounts to… zero!
The full article is published in the Greek newspaper EFSYN. Below, you can find my translation of the excerpt available online. It’s definitely worth a read. But, whether one loves or hates Varoufakis, one thing is for sure: his arguments have become increasingly sloppier and his rhetoric more populist than ever before.
After the capitulation of our government, right after the referendum, the “narrative of the winners” was as follows: in the end of 2014, the Greek economy was recovering. If the people had not “erred” in electing us, the recovery would have continued and the Memorandum would soon be history.
But, the negotiating stance held by Tsipras’s government against the lenders, where the signatory of this essay was protagonist, plunged the economy again deep into recession and wiped out the small primary surplus that was created so painstakingly by the previous government.
“Thankfully,” in the final moment, the Prime Minister backed down, replaced the Minister of Finance that cost the country from 20 to 90 billion euros, and saved the lot, [and] perhaps also the country.
But I am not a “good politician,” since I insist on keep telling the truth. And the truth is that the Greek economy did not recover during my Ministerial tenure. As there was no recovery in 2014 under Samaras-Hardouvelis, of course.
Our goal was an agreement that would be sustainable and would not bring the country back to the verge of a new default a few months or years later. “We will not advocate” I said in the programmatic statements in the parliament, “to yet another medium-term deadlock, just to get 7.1 billion euros now, and then give them to the IMF.”
I did not “forget” the 10.9 billion euros of the HFSF, because it was an amount of money in bonds that was never controlled by the Greek state anyways, and which the TROIKA would decide on how to allocate to the banks, whether they remained in the HFSF or be transferred in its European ‘mother’, the EFSF, and then again back to the HFSF (as they will do now).
Brussels and Frankfurt did not want to admit in 2012 that they underestimated the problem of the “red” loans, which shrink the capital base of banks. Thus, they waited for the right moment to unload this criminal failure on their part in the government of SYRIZA: the capital controls, which they themselves imposed, they now use, falsely, as the reason why banks did not need 10 but 25 billion euros.
A quick review assessment proves that the additional lending added by our 6-month long negotiation in the already agreed [measures] of TROIKA with the previous governments is… zero.
A lot of talk has been going on about my advisers. It is worth a look at how much they cost the Greek people: exactly zero! None of my advisers received even a single euro. Not even one!