Former Eurozone Official Says Tsipras Cost Greece 200 Billion Euros

Thomas Wieser. Photo: Eurokinissi, File

The former head of a Eurozone working group, Thomas Wieser, said Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras’ obstinacy after winning elections in 2015 before seeking a third bailout actually cost Greece 200 billion euros ($247 billion) in damages.

Tsipras came to power with vows to defy international creditors and reverse austerity and his Administration engaged in combative talks with the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) before bowing and taking a rescue package of 86 billion euros ($106.21 billion) and more austerity.

Wieser, an American-Austrian economist, led the Eurogroup, an informal body where the ministers of the euro area member states discuss matters relating to their shared responsibilities related to the euro.
He was quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant as saying that an estimate by ESM Managing Director Klaus Regling of 100 billion euros ($123.5 billion) in damages – related to the six-month tenure of provocative former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who resisted austerity before being ousted by Tsipras – was actually double that figure.

“It probably cost double (in damages): the economic shrinkage, distrust by investors, the hits taken by Greek banks. But it wasn’t only Varoufakis, all of the Greek government bears responsibility,” he said, in a shot at Tsipras and Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, a Marxist economist forced into an embarrassing surrender to the Troika.

Wieser dismissed allegations from Greece it was the victim of the creditors and outside forces, a common lament in the country, and said it was responsible for its own near downfall after decades of wild overspending and runaway patronage, continued by Tsipras who said he would stop it.

Asked further, he said he authored a plan, code-named “Z,” for the possibility of a Greek Eurozone exit, or Grexit, as far back as 2012, while adding that leaving the financial bloc was a greater possibility once Tsipras came into power with promises to bring a Leftist revolution before conceding, as did the previous governments he mocked for doing so, adding that,  “the consequences in 2012 would have been more dramatic.”