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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 1 August 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 1 AUGUST 2015 25 GREECE Alexis Tsipras and his finance minister take a walk in central Athens last month as negotiations with creditors break down. PHOTO: EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU. a mistake. What we should have said is that since you have rescinded on what we agreed, we will not sign, regardless of what this entails." I ask who had the responsibility for the final decision on the enforced memorandum. "In my view, without being able to prove it, the final decision is Chancellor Merkel's." Varoufakis with Eurogroup leader Jeroen Dijsselbloem in May. PHOTO: AP PHOTO/VIRGINIA MAYO. that was an exceptional one. "My mistake was that I be- lieved that we had an honest deal. It took us a long time to understand and believe that this was a move that Merkel meant at that time, but very quickly, Schäuble, who was against it, re- claimed the initiative of the processes.Just four days later, by 24 February, Schäuble had already overturned that agreement. "At that Eurogroup, Schäuble spoke 22 times and every time he spoke, he was even more frustrated than the previous time. He wanted to scrap the agreement which was signed simply because Merkel had instructed Dijsselbloem to pass it against Schäuble. "We dragged on for weeks and months in a memorandum process and that was As to whether the EU entered into real negotiations over the bailout terms, Varoufakis paints a picture of complete intransigence on the creditors' side. "For months there was no negotiation until perhaps the end. At the Eurogroup, there is no negotiation. No one is informed. It is not easy but I never imagined that all the finance ministers there would not even have documents in front of them. In the so-called Brussels Group, the discussion process was a farce. We never resolved an issue. All were tagged as 'comprehensive review' but no final decision was made. We could not agree. "It was clear that time was deliberately wasted so we would become increasingly weak, since every day that passed, repayments were made, people were more afraid, investors did not invest. So we were dragged in to a negotiation simply to be weakened." What would have happened if Greece had defied the creditors' proposal, and what was the alternative? "What I was saying from the beginning is that we should go in good faith from the start to the negotiations. I had proposed three things that needed to be done - as retaliation - in case our banks were closed. "One was to shift to the dis- Yanis Varoufakis, a man with his own specific economic and political views, has supporters and detractors. He says he will continue to fight for what he believes in, though it's less clear if he will remain within SYRIZA, elements of which he has clearly lost faith with. "I am a member of parliament and I continue my political life," he says. “At the Eurogroup, there is no negotiation. In the so-called Brussels Group, the discussion process was a farce.” tant future any Greek government bonds which are still being held by the European Central Bank; something that has never been done before, in any country of the world. The second was to produce our own liquidity in euro. Not to get out of the euro, but in order to remain in the euro for as long as this counter-argument exists. "Thirdly, if the European Central Bank ignores basic principles of central banking, we should change the institution of our own central banking in order to have more control over it. To legislate for it." "I've been disappointed by certain colleagues who decided to break the unity of the party and have turned against me. "This is damaging to SYRIZA. If we don't preserve the party's unity by accepting that we can disagree, then I think we will have done something very bad." When asked if he will remain in Greece, the political scene and SYRIZA, his answer is carefully worded. "Of course I will remain in Greece and politics. I'm here to stay," he says. One thing is for certain - we haven't heard the last of Yanis Varoufakis.
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