Interview with Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis

… Austerity Has Done Nothing to Solve Greece’s Problems – Published on Spiegel Online International, by Thomas Hüetlin and Alexander Neubacher, Feb 2015.

Greek Finance Minister Giannis Varoufakis has had little luck convincing his EU counterparts that Athens needs a debt cut. He speaks with SPIEGEL about why austerity has failed, how aid conditions are like waterboarding and where the bailout money went …;

SPIEGEL: Mr. Varoufakis, you have referred to the European Union’s bailout policy for Greece as “fiscal waterboarding.” What exactly do you mean by that? … //

… SPIEGEL: What is the point of re-employing sacked public-sector workers?

  • Varoufakis: We have reversed some terminations where these made no social or economic sense or where the process was illegal. Let me give you an example: The previous government sacked school security guards whose job it was to protect our schools. The resulting damage caused by the theft of school computers and vandalism is far greater than the amount saved by the sacking of the guards.

SPIEGEL: You have formed a coalition government with the right-wing populist Panos Kammenos and his party Independent Greeks. Why?

  • Varoufakis: I hereby declare that I, Giannis Varoufakis, oppose every form of xenophobia, anti-Semitism and sexism. And I will find it deeply distressing if any member of our government expresses a different opinion on these matters. Unfortunately, the austerity measures in many European countries have resulted in a great increase of popular support for right-wing narratives. I see this as a great danger for Europe.

SPIEGEL: Why form a coalition with these people then?

  • Varoufakis: That is simply how democracy works. We would have preferred to have an absolute majority, but the Greek voters decided differently.

SPIEGEL: You had alternatives, like the left-wing liberal party To Potami (The River).

  • Varoufakis: It was in our national interests, and in the interests of Europe, to form a government as quickly as possible. Long, drawn-out coalition talks would have been disastrous. Additionally, let me inform you that To Potami rejects that it is left-wing.

SPIEGEL: During the election campaign, your coalition partner Kammenos, who is now Greece’s defense minister, said that Europe is being governed by German neo-Nazis.

  • Varoufakis: That is an opinion I absolutely do not share.

SPIEGEL: You owe your current position to your coalition partner Mr. Kammenos. He brought you to power.

  • Varoufakis: That’s not correct. It was the Greek voters who brought us to power.

SPIEGEL: Right-wing demagogues are gaining ground in Germany too, but not because of austerity measures. On the contrary, they claim that the Greek bailout is costing German taxpayers too much money.

  • Varoufakis: The Germans should know that their money bailed out the banks, not Greece. And I share their opinion that that was a wrong move. That money has disappeared in black holes. In the future, we should make sure that it is invested sustainably.

SPIEGEL: In contrast to Spain and Portugal, Greece has already benefited from a debt cut. Can you understand that there is a certain reluctance to pour even more money into your country? Greece seems like the proverbial bucket full of holes … //

… (full interview text with many hyper-links).

Related Links:

Other Links:

Poorest Americans left out of federal aid despite 74 percent spending surge, on Russia Today RT, Feb 17, 2015;

France should recognize Crimea as part of Russia – Le Pen, on Russia Today RT, Feb 17, 2015;

Workers Struggles – The Americas, on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, Feb 17, 2015;

Citing government threats, Teamsters suppress Canadian Pacific rail strike, on World Socialist Web Site WSWS, by Carl Bronski, Feb 17, 2015;

Copenhagen Attack Witness Inna Shevchenko Debates Scholar Tariq Ramadan on Religion and Free Speech, on Democracy Now, Feb 16, 2015;

Michael Hudson: Ukraine Denouement, The Russian Loan and the IMF’s One-Two Punch, on naked capitalism, by Yves Smith, Feb 16, 2015: Michael Hudson is a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is THE BUBBLE AND BEYOND, by Michael Hudson (Author), Paperback, July 1, 2012, on amazon;

How America screws up the world without ever letting its people know what is happening, on Intrepid Report, by John Chuckman, Feb 16, 2015;

Brzezinski: Die einzige Weltmacht, 10.52 min, von Jürgen und Birgit am 13. Feb 2015 hochgeladen … neues vollständiges PDF;

New Greek govt furious over EU ‘unequivocal’ anti-Russia statement, on Russia Today, Jan 28, 2015;

DAVOS WATCH: Hollande, King Abdullah, Draghi, Greek vote, on news advance, by AP, January 23, 2015;

Ex CIA Offizier: Das sind die wahren Schuldigen am Ukraine Krieg, 46.45 min, von Jürgen Birgit am 21. Sept 2014: see also Raymond (Ray) McGovern, USA on World People’s Blog;

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