Piling on former Greek finance chief Yanis Varoufakis three years after being forced out, he was blamed again for a third bailout in 2015, this one for 86 billion euros (the $99.68 billion), this time by European Stability Mechanism (ESM) General Secretary Kalin Anev Janse.
Varoufakis’ combative anti-austerity stance in dealing with the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-ESM that put up the money has repeatedly been cited as the reason why Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras had to seek the rescue package after swearing he wouldn’t.
Speaking after Greece received the last 15-billion euro ($17.39 billion) installment from the bailout, the last of 326 billion euros ($377.86 billion) in three that began in 2010, he said Varoufakis caused clashes and arguments with European Union and Eurozone officials.
“Varoufakis was not good for the Greek population. His policies have cost a lot of money and unfortunately Greece has been put back a few years,” Janse told Dutch public broadcaster NOS.
“It was really going in the right direction in 2014 and we were preparing a clean exit for Greece, so that it would emerge from the support program without a loan,” he said.
His comments came after ESM chief Klaus Regling also had blamed Varoufakis for the costly bailout altough the former finance chief said it was the fault of Tsipras for reneging on anti-austerity promises and surrendering to the lenders.
Speaking to Germany’s Handelsblatt, Regling said that SYRIZA’s victory in taking office in January 2015 was a setback just when it seemed a recovery could begin and he blamed the government – including Tsipras – and said Greece “embarked on a wrong path for six months, costing the Greeks billions.”
He added: because under Varoufakis the country moved in the wrong direction for six months in 2015, a fact that cost the Greeks billions.”
He said Greece was more difficult to deal with than other bailed-out countries because in “no other program country were the problems so great and the administration as weak.”
Varoufakis launched a party that hasn’t registered in surveys and said his onslaught against SYRIZA and mainstream groups will show how they’ve made the country into a debtors prison.
“Nobody believes the systemic media in Greece, and they’re all bankrupt,” he told the Observer with disregard for his legion of critics who blame him for a six-month standoff with the country’s creditors.
“To those who say I cost the country, and I’ve heard 30 billion euros, 86 billion euros, 100 billion and even 200 billion euros … I say I cost exactly zero. The Troika (of creditors) cost Greece two generations and continue to impose cost,” he said.
“I think Tsipras and his colleagues have seriously let themselves down. They are young people, and they have to walk the streets knowing that they have condemned this country to debt bondage for another 30 years,” he says. “I am probably the only one who did what they said they would do,” he added.