Monday, July 27, 2015

New Varoufakis profile with additional information on the Greek/Troika negotiations

A new, long article in The New Yorker based heavily on on-the-record comments from Yanis Varoufakis gives more details on the Greek negotiations with the Troika: Ian Parker, The Greek Warrior 08/03/2015 issue; accessed 07/27/2015.

Varoufakis tells about the call he received a couple of days after he had taken office from Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Finance Minister of the Netherlands and the head of the Eurogroup, composed of the finance ministers of the 19 eurozone countries:

On the phone, Varoufakis recalled, Dijsselbloem “was perfectly pleasant,” asking, “What do you want to do?” Promising to negotiate in good faith, Varoufakis requested the bridge. According to Varoufakis, Dijsselbloem said, “Sounds reasonable. I’ll fly in in a couple of days.”

“It was downhill from that moment,” Varoufakis said.

Arriving in Athens, Dijsselbloem asked the same question, and Varoufakis gave the same answer. This time, Dijsselbloem replied, “That will not do.” (“I have no doubt that he was pulled into line between the telephone conversation and the visit,” Varoufakis told me. He declined to name Germany explicitly, but added, “You can imagine.”) Varoufakis asked Dijsselbloem, “Are you threatening me, on Day One, with Grexit?” Dijsselbloem said that a crashed program wouldn’t necessitate Greece’s exit from the euro.

“But the banks will shut down,” Varoufakis said.

“Yes, sure,” Dijsselbloem replied. (Last week, a spokesperson for the Dutch finance ministry said, “We never comment on reports of discussions held behind closed doors. Mr. Dijsselbloem is trying to enjoy a government summer recess. I would advise Mr. Varoufakis to do the same.”)
There are also some memorable quotes from Mr. V, including, "Honey, I shut the banks."

Also, this indirect quote: "sharks are not placated by a little blood."