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Fri Jun 19, 2015, 10:43 AM

Varoufakis: Greece’s Proposals to End the Crisis: My intervention at today’s Eurogroup

The only antidote to propaganda and malicious ‘leaks’ is transparency. After so much disinformation on my presentation at the Eurogroup of the Greek government’s position, the only response is to post the precise words uttered within. Read them and judge for yourselves whether the Greek government’s proposals constitute a basis for agreement.


Five months ago, in my very first Eurogroup intervention, I put it to you that the new Greek government faced a dual task:

We had to earn a precious currency without depleting an important capital good.

The precious currency we had to earn was a sense of trust, here, amongst our European partners and within the institutions. To mint that precious currency would necessitate a meaningful reform package and a credible fiscal consolidation plan.

As for the important capital we could not afford to deplete, that was the trust of the Greek people who would have to swing behind any agreed reform program that will end the Greek crisis. The prerequisite for that capital not to be depleted was, and remains, one: tangible hope that the agreement we bring back with us to Athens:
◾is the last to be hammered out under conditions of crisis;
◾comprises a reform package which ends the 6-year-long uninterrupted recession;
◾does not hit the poor savagely like the previous reforms did;
◾renders our debt sustainable thus creating genuine prospects of Greece’s return to the money markets, ending our undignified reliance on our partners to repay the loans we have received from them.

Five months have gone by, the end of the road is nigh, but this finely balancing act has failed to materialize. Yes, at the Brussels Group we have come close. How close? On the fiscal side the positions are truly close, especially for 2015. For 2016 the remaining gap amounts to 0.5% of GDP. We have proposed parametric measures of 2% versus the 2.5% that the institutions insist upon. This 0.5% gap we propose to bridge over by administrative measures. It would be, I submit to you, a major error to allow such a minuscule difference to cause massive damage to the Eurozone’s integrity. Convergence had also been achieved on a wide range of issues.

Nevertheless, I will not deny that our proposals have not instilled in you the trust that you need. And, at the same time, the institutions’ proposals that Mr Juncker conveyed to PM Tsipras cannot engender the hope that our citizens need. Thus, we have come close to an impasse.

At this, the 11th hour, stage of the negotiations, before uncontrollable events take over, we have a moral duty, let alone a political and an economic one, to overcome this impasse. This is no time for recriminations and accusations. European citizens will hold collectively responsible all those of us who failed to strike a viable solution.



LIVE: Yanis Varoufakis holds speech at the Panel session “Greece's future in the EU” in Berlin
Streamed live on Jun 8, 2015
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will be giving a speech on the crisis in the Eurozone at the Hans-Boeckler foundation on Monday, June 8. Before the speech, Varoufakis met with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble in an unscheduled meeting, arranged due to the intensifying negotiations of Greek debt. Since Syriza's election, Greek authorities and the institutions have been negotiating for five months to unlock the €7.2 billion ($8bn) of rescue funds it needs to pay the IMF. The bailout extension ends on June 30. If Greece fails to meet the deadline, it faces default and exit from the eurozone.


With all of the articles in MSM it is important to weigh the words of the FPM who is involved in the negotiations, as we look for the truth in how this situation plays out. There are issues between nations that are important to understand, as so much that is written publicly leaves all of these issues completely out of the explanation of what has been playing out. Greece has been dealing with much that the masses are not privy to, while much is said about the debt that was incurred, ignoring factors that are involved. Here, an honest explanation is given along with an honest approach to dealing with the crisis.

Importantly he mentions reforms and cuts have been taken (40%), where else is there to make further cuts? The Troika demands seem inhumane and ignorant. The reasons for not being able to acquiesce to the further demands are explained. These issues have not been put into words in what we read about the negotiations. Thanks to Varoufakis, now we can understand, if we had not yet quite grasped this concept. Solid solutions are being put forth, what is needed is spelled out and quite reasonably.

Varoufakis speaks with eloquence as always, presenting heartfelt, intelligent solutions aimed at repaying debt, and desiring never to incur deficits again. He calls for unity, not Grexit. If there is a Grexit the fault will not lie with Syriza. There are about 10 days left for all parties to come to agreement if Grexit is to be avoided, so we stay tuned. An emergency, make or break, summit is to take place on Monday.

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