Varoufakis Says Greece Should Have Gone Bankrupt

August 21, 2018

Three years after he was ousted for being too combative with international lenders, former Greek finance chief Yanis Varoufakis won’t stop talking about and now said the country should have gone bankrupt instead of bowing to demands for more austerity.

He told the German tabloid Bild that, “As for the Greek banks and state, they should not have been saved – we should have been allowed to go bankrupt, suffer the consequences but then be allowed to pick ourselves up and move on,” and left the Eurozone.

With Greece on Aug. 20 ending more than eight years of three rescue packages of 326 billion euros ($375.49 billion), Varoufakis said the country is in the same “black hole” as it was before the crisis began in 2010 and that “it keeps sinking deeper into it every day.”

“Despite two debt cuts over several billion euros, the debts have grown: the state is still broke, private citizens have become poorer, companies still go bankrupt, and our gross national product has decreased by 25 percent… everybody owes money to everybody – but nobody has money to pay back their debts,” he said.

The surpluses that the Greek state has shown in recent years are real but reflect “the flesh and blood that the state extracts from a dying private sector. It is the evidence of the crime against logic, not of recovery or success,” he added in more shots at his former boss, Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who he earlier said couldn’t be trusted.

He also said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is putting up the bulk of the bailouts but insisted on big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions, twice lied to her country’s citizens, first when she said the rescue was an act of solidarity with Greeks but was intended to help German and French banks.

The other time he said was the “promise to the Germans that the bailout loans would be paid back and with interest – something that was impossible given Greece’s bankruptcy,” with even Tsipras saying the debt was unsustainable although a recently-concluded deal gives the country until 2060 to pay off the loans.

He said Germany and the European Union weren’t fooled statistics a former Greek government put up to get into the Eurozone on 2001. “They always knew. They were conniving in the statistical manipulation of Italy because the politicians really needed Italy in,” he said as well.

He said Merkel had used charm to overcome opponents, particularly men in her own party as well as the opposition and did it to Tsipras too.

“Tsipras was one of her easiest exercises. She promised him a lot and gave him nothing. For instance, she promised him debt relief – and then obstructed them. She had an aim: we were supposed to get more money and then shut up.”

Varoufakis said Tsipras got rid of him because he didn’t want to sign a third bailout of 86 billion euros ($99.06 billion) the Premier sought in the summer of 2015 after saying he wouldn’t because it came with more brutal measures he swore to reject but agreed to implement.

This was “exactly at the point of time when we wanted to bring charges against huge numbers of tax evaders,” Varoufakis said, but who have escaped with near-impunity while Tsipras went after workers, pensioners and the poor instead, broke his promise to put a 75 percent tax on the rich and crush the oligarchy, surrendering to them as he did to the Troika of the European Union-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism (EU-ECB-ESM) and the Washington, D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“The Troika, with the acquiescence of the Tsipras government, killed the program that would have caught the tax evaders … The Troika – not the ministers of finance – wanted to protect the oligarchs. The oligarchs were the Troika’s allies in Greece, running the banks and controlling public opinion. They had to be protected.”


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