Athens, March 19, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
New attack on the Greek Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, this time from an article on Reuters, according to which Varoufakis is the main problem in the negotiations, hinting on his removal.
“The incendiary interviews, behaviours that are far from being classifiedas diplomatic, with photographs in celebrity magazines and obscene gestures, the Greek Minister of Finance is an important part of the problem for Greece in the attempt to reach an agreement with its partners”, notes the agency.
“Many believe that the new FinMin has brought fresh air talking to his counterparts in the Eurogroup for the futility of austerity policies that have been imposed on Greece over the last five years. Simultaneously, however, what surprises is his readiness to break the conventions of European narrative – and not only among Finance ministers and bureaucrats in Brussels”.
Reuters reports that in less than two months since he took office, he has already alienated from many of his interlocutors in Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt and risks becoming a problem, as Greece is struggling to return to normality and to remain in the Eurozone.
There are, however, conflicting views as to what exactly Varoufakis does. A Greek official says he has “a spiritual gift. He is so comfortable that he leaves you speechless. He asks, but he doesn’t get answers. We have lost 1/3 of our national income, how can we repay our loans? The degradation of Varoufakis has been going on for two weeks in order to get rid of him”. On the other hand, however, European officials said – anonymously – to Reuters: «He is a nice guy, but this is how things work. With Varoufakis it is difficult to keep something in the private sphere”. They directly accuse for showing off too much, indiscretion and lack of confidence, which reinforces the concerns of investors.
“Varoufakis has a serious responsibility for the relations between Greece and the Eurozone. Sometimes the attitude of a country is personified, especially in a small and intimate environment such as the Eurogroup”. Currently, no one asks his head on platter, although Juncker asked from Tsipras a few days back to tell him to take down the tons of his rhetoric.
As is stated in the article: “Some may believe that the problem is not the Varoufakis, but Tsipras who is seeking compensation from Germany, but the Finance ministers are the ones who need to reassure the markets and deal with numbers and not with slogans”.
At the same time, he notes that after the shooting in Paris Match, even publicly several members of SYRIZA express objections to the way Varoufakis works. However, European officials note that the enmity between him and Wolfgang Schaeuble further complicates negotiations.
But the real reason is to be found in the effort of “hard” of the Eurogroup, led by Schaeuble, to fully subdue the new Greek government, in a way visible throughout Europe, to the old pattern of loan agreements, memoranda and surveillance”.
The “sacrifice” of Varoufakis in practice will have the effect of facilitating the negotiation, which now should be done exclusively with the conditions of lenders. In symbolic terms, the “sacrifice” of the economist who has spoken more than anyone else in the failed European model of “rescue” with huge loans and destructive austerity, will be a triumph for Berlin and even just before the crucial elections in Spain, where Podemos is aiming for the top spot.