A revealing interview today from former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. After resigning in frustration last week, he finally got some sleep and is now warning the world about the lawless cartel now running the European Union–the German finance minister is calling all the shots and democracy has been gutted. See: Yanis Varoufakis opens up about his 5 month battle to save Greece.
When Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the European Council President, tried to issue the communiqué without him, Varoufakis consulted Eurogroup clerks – could Dijsselbloem exclude a member state? The meeting was briefly halted. After a handful of calls, a lawyer turned to him and said, “Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.”
“So,” Varoufakis said, “What we have is a non-existent group that has the greatest power to determine the lives of Europeans. It’s not answerable to anyone, given it doesn’t exist in law; no minutes are kept; and it’s confidential. No citizen ever knows what is said within . . . These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.”
Events this weekend seem to support Varoufakis’ account. On Saturday evening, a memo leaked that showed Germany was suggesting Greece should take a “timeout” from the Eurozone. By the end of the day, Schäuble’s recommendation was the conclusion of the Eurogroup’s statement. It’s unclear how that happened; the body operates in secret. While Greeks hung on reports of their fate this weekend, no minutes were released from any meetings.
The referendum of 5 July has also been rapidly forgotten. It was preemptively dismissed by the Eurozone, and many people saw it as a farce – a sideshow.
Particularly dark is his take on why other heavily indebted Euro members did not rally to support Greece in their negotiations:
Varoufakis was reluctant to name individuals, but added that the governments that might have been expected to be the most sympathetic towards Greece were actually their “most energetic enemies”. He said that the “greatest nightmare” of those with large debts – the governments of countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland – “was our success”. “Were we to succeed in negotiating a better deal, that would obliterate them politically: they would have to answer to their own people why they didn’t negotiate like we were doing.”