Varoufakis: How much did I cost?

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.

 

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Game of Ultimatums: The nonpaper of the Greek government

Earlier today, the Greek government issued a nonpaper targetted towards the institutions. The nonpaper provides, once again, the well-established (by now) red lines of the Greek government, as well as a scathing attack towards IMF representative Gerry Rice, and an attempt to portray the institutions as having vast differences between them. You can find a copy of the original here. Below, read the translated version.

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Syriza’s Left Platform call not to pay next IMF tranche

Syriza’s Left Platform, spearheaded by Minister of Productive Reconstruction, Environment and Energy, Panagiotis Lafazanis, issued a document during today’s meeting of the Central Committee of SYRIZA, which will come for a vote later in the day. The document calls – once again! – for the rupture with the lenders. Specifically, it asks from the government not to repay the upcoming tranche to the IMF in June, if the ‘institutions’ continue with the ‘same blackmailing tactic.’

You can find the original text in Greek here and here. Below, you can find my translated version of the document.

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The speech of Alexis Tsipras at the Economist Conference

Tsiprandreou

The Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, delivered a very interesting speech at the Annual Conference event of the Economist in Athens. You can find the original speech, in Greek, here. You can find the translated version from the Office of the Prime Minister, here. Or you can read my own translation right below.

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The warlike statement of Syriza’s Political Secretariat

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Statement by the Political Secretariat of Syriza [14 May 2015]

From the first moment that this government was established, it became clear – both domestically, and abroad – that the mandate given by the Greek people is binding and comprises of a compass in the negotiations.

The red lines of the government are red lines of the Greek people, expressing the interests of the workers, self-employed, pensioners, farmers, and the youth. They expressed the need for the country to enter a new path of growth, with social justice and redistribution of wealth at its core. 

The insistence of the lenders in implementing the MoU program of the Samaras’s government, creating an asphyxiating stranglehold of political pressures and financial asphyxiation in the country, comes in direct contrast to the notion of democracy and popular sovereignty in Europe. It expresses the obsessive fixation to austerity that deconstructs the welfare state, the oligarchic direction of European affairs in closed rooms that are unaffected by the will of the people, [and] which pave the way to the rise of the extreme right in Europe.

These requirements cannot be accepted. They cannot be accepted by the Greek people who fought all these past years in order to put an end to the criminal policies of the Memoranda. They cannot be accepted by the people of Europe and by the progressive societies and political powers, who fight for a Europe of solidarity and Democracy. 

The citizens of Greece and Europe are not passive consumers of 8 o’clock news, on the contrary, we believe that they can be co-stars in a negotiation that concerns the common fate of all of us, in the scale of Europe and the world.

SYRIZA will take any possible initiative to inform the Greek people, but also the European people. In every city, in every neighborhood and workplace, but also in all countries of Europe, the MPs, MEPs, and members of SYRIZA will come together with [other] members of SYRIZA and forces of solidarity [towards the party] in a wide mobilization call for the win of democracy and of dignity.

Now is the time for the people themselves to enter the battle. 

We will win.

Original text (in Greek) can be found here.

Photo: Sofokleousin

GR Political Economy Digest #17

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While Friday’s Eurogroup storm seems to have passed, today is an equally (if not more) important date for the fate of Greece. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Minister of Finance, is expected to send a list of proposed reforms to TIFKAT (The ‘Institutions’ Formerly Known As Troika) for approval. Analysts, markets, and entire governments might have sighed in relief on Friday, but it is today actually that will illuminate whether a substantial compromise has been reached in the last Eurogroup meeting.

There is not much to say at this point, other than to wait and see what Varoufakis has planned. The list of reforms is expected to be quite short (no longer than 3-5 pages) and concise. Hopefully, it will also include meaningful proposals that speak more of a “compromise,” rather than the hardcore Left platform of Syriza or ANEL. “Wait, what?,” you may ask. “Who cares about those hardcore Lefties and the few ultra-nationalist crazies of ANEL? They are a fringe part anyways, right? And they wouldn’t jeopardize their ascent to power so soon, would they? As long as the moderate part of Syriza is willing to compromise, then there is no problem!” Well… I would love to share your optimism, but I am quite wary of the influence of the anti-austerity and anti-reform hardliners. I am also quite confident that we will witness some important schisms in the next couple of weeks – iff (if and only if) Varoufakis and Tsipras are true to Friday’s deal. Some senior Syriza officials and important figures of the Left have already begun speaking up (Manolis Glezos, John Milios, Sofia Sakorafa, and even Mikis Theodorakis). I suspect that more voices will soon follow in tune. Will that be enough to bring the government down? This is extremely early to say. But don’t be surprised if the inter-governmental dynamics change drastically in the upcoming weeks.

In any case, happy Lent Monday everybody! Here is the list of the top articles to read on the political economy of Greece today: 

  1. Greece: Four more months of hope and risks, by Frederik Ducrozet | Credit Agricole CIB, Feb 23 2015
  2. Greek bailout: Athens submits economic reform plan today (Live updates), by Graeme Wearden | The Guardian, Feb 23 2015
  3. Tsipras tamed as economists declare Greece loses austerity fight, by Simon Kennedy & Jennifer Ryan | Bloomberg, Feb 23 2015
  4. Greece scrambles to send draft reforms to EU institutions, by Peter Spiegel & Kerin Hope | The Financial Times, Feb 23 2015
  5. In defence of can-kicking, by Duncan Weldon | Medium, Feb 23 2015
  6. A hard week ahead for Greece after a last-minute deal, by Max Ehrenfreund | The Washington Post, Feb 23 2015
  7. Greece’s future is its past, by Rebecca Harding | Pieria, Feb 23 2015
  8. Greece: A debt colony with a bit of “home rule”, by Paul Mason | Channel4 News, Feb 23 2015
  9. Varoufakis ‘absolutely certain’ Greek reforms will meet approval | Deutsche Welle, Feb 22 2015
  10. Spain said to lead EU push to force terms on Greece, by Nikolaos Chrysoloras & Karl Stagno Navarra | Bloomberg, Feb 22 2015
  11. Ten days that shook the euro; how Greece came to the brink, by Alastair MacDonald & Jan Strupczewski | Reuters, Feb 22 2015
  12. Greece readies reform promises, by George Georgiopoulos | Reuters, Feb 22 2015

Photo Credits: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 22.02.2015)