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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tutta la verità shock sull’eurogruppo e sulle trattative greche rivelata da Varoufakis dopo le dimissioni.DA LEGGERE

Fonte:http://jedasupport.altervista.org/blog/esteri/varoufakis-intervista-newstatement/

Intervista Varoufakis

Varoufakis,dopo le sue dimissioni,concede un’intervista interessante ad Harry Lambert del New Statesman (testata giornalistica britannica).Ecco le verità shock sull’eurogruppo e sulle trattative greche che nessuno vi dice.

Teniamo a precisare che diverse testate di regime hanno ripreso questa intervista, riportandola con superficialità e omettendo gran parte di essa.


Noi vi proponiamo le parti più interessanti assolutamente da leggere tradotte in italiano. Potrete trovare inoltre l’intervista completa QUI SOTTO .

Ecco l’estratto più significativo:

Harry Lambert (HL): Quindi , come si sente ora ?

Yanis Varoufakis (YV): Mi sento in cima al mondo, non devo più vivere secondo un programma febbrile, assolutamente disumano semplicemente incredibile. Ho dormito solo per 2 ore a notte per 5 mesi. Sono anche sollevato dalfatto di dover più sostenere una pressione incredibile per negoziare da una posizione che era difficile da difendere, anche quando riuscivo ad avere il consenso dell’altra parte, non so se mi spiego

HL: Come è stato? Avete gradito ogni momento della situazione ?

YV: Oh si l’ho apprezzato. Si possono ottenere delle informazioni dall’interno.. ed avere tutte le tue peggiori paure confermate. Puoi avere “I poteri” che ti parlano direttamente, e, come temevi, la situazione è peggio di quanto immaginassi. Quindi è stato divertente sedere sui sedili anteriori.

HL: A cosa vi riferite ?

YV: Alla completa assenza di scrupoli democratici, da parte dei supposti difensori della democrazia europea. D’altro canto anche la chiara comprensione dall’altra parte che siamo nella stessa barca, anche se non verrà mai ammessa. E quindi avere alcuni importanti personaggi che ti guardano negli occhi e ti dicono: ” Stai dicendo il giusto, ma noi comunque ti schiacceremo”.

HL: Avete detto che i creditori vi contestavano perchè “Ho provato a parlare di economia all’Eurogruppo, cosa che non fa nessuno”. Cosa è successo quando lo avete fatto ?

YV: Non è che non sia andata bene, è che proprio vi è stato un netto rifiuto di entrare negli argomenti economici. Di netto. Poni in luce un argomento su cui hai veramente studiato, per far si che sia logicamente coerente, e ti guardano con degli sguardi vuoti. E’ come se tu non abbia parlato, quello che rispondono è indipendente da quello che tu hai detto. Potresti anche aver cantato l’inno svedese,ed avresti la stessa risposta. E questo è incredibile per chi è abituato ad un dibattito accademico. La controparte non risponde mai. Non c’è mai stata una discussione. Non è stato neppure un problema, semplicemente era come se una parte non avesse mai risposto.

HL: Quando siete arrivato, all’inizio di febbraio, c’era già una posizione univoca ?

YV: Beh c’erano persone con cui vi era una simpatia personale, così dietro le quinte su base informale, soprattutto nel FMI (HL: ai livelli più alti? YV: Si, ai livelli più alti, a quelli più alti), ma poi nell’Eurogruppo solo qualche parola gentile e nulla più, tutti a ripararsi dietro la barriera della versione ufficiale. Schaeuble è stato coerente comunque. La sua visione era: “Io non sto discutendo un programma, questo è stato già accettato dal precedente governo e non possiamo permettere che un’elezione cambi tutto. Perchè abbiamo sempre elezioni, siamo in 19, e se cambiamo qualcosa tutte le volte che c’è un’elezione gli accordi fra noi non significano nulla.” A questo punto ho dovuto prendere la parola e dire:” Beh allora dovremmo semplicemente dire di non fare più elezioni nelle nazioni indebitate” e non c’è stata risposta. La sola interpretazione che posso dare è che , per loro, “Si, questa sarebbe una buona idea, ma difficile da realizzare. Quindi o firma sulla linea tratteggiata o sei fuori”.

HL: e la Merkel ?

YV: Dovete capire che io non ho mai avuto nulla a che fare con la Merkel: i ministri delle finanze parlano con i ministri delle finanze, i primi ministri con i cancellieri. Da quello che ho capito lei era molto diversa. Lei cercava di tranquillizzareil primo ministro (Tsipras) – diceva: “Troveremo una soluzione, non ti preoccupare, non lascerò che succeda nulla di terribile, fai semplicemente i tuoi compiti e lavora con le istituzioni, con la troika, . Non ci sarà nessuna chiusura”.

Questo non è stato quello che ho sentito dalla mia controparte, sia dal presidente dell’eurogruppo sia dal dr Schaeuble, Ad un certo punto mi han detto chiaramente : “O mangia questa minestra, o salta dalla finestra”.

HL: Fu così dall’inizio ?

YV Dall’inizio, proprio dall’inizio.

HL : come siamo arrivati all’estate ?

YV (riassumiamo una lunga risposta. Non avevamo alternative. il governo era stato eletto con il mandato a negoziare. Loro volevano un accordo globale, e quando cercavamo di discutere su di un tema, come l’IVA, loro passavano ad un altro argomento, e così via , senza fine. Noi proponevamo qualcosa e loro lo rifiutavano o passavano ad altro. Abbiamo cercato di interrompere questo processo. la mia visione era questa : siamo una nazione incagliata, ed incagliata da molto tempo, certo, abbiamo bisogno di riforme su questo siamo tutti d’accordo. Dato che il tempo era necessario e dato che durante le trattative la BCE stava schiacciando la nostro liquidità per esercitare pressione su di noi per farci soccombere, la mia proposta alla troika era molto semplice: mettiamoci d’accordo su tre o quattro riforme importanti come l’IVA , ed applichiamole subito. Voi inc ambio rilassate le restrizioni della BCE. Volete un accordo complessivo, andiamo avanti con le trattative, e nel frattempo lasciateci introdurre nuove riforme in parlamento con accordi fra noi e voi. La loro risposta è stata: “No no no, questo deve essere un accordo. Non faremo nulla se voi introdurrete alcuna legge. Sarà considerato un atto unilaterale ed ostile al processo di contrattazione.” Quindi qualche mese dopo trapelerà ai media che non abbiamo fatto riforme e che stavamo perdendo tempo! E così eravamo fregati, in ogni senso. quindi quando la liquidità è quasi completamente finita ed eravamo in default, o quasi default con lo FMI, loro hanno presentato le loro proposte , che erano quasi impossibili, non accettabili e dannose. Così hanno preso tempo e poi sono usciti con delle proposte che tu fai quando non vuoi un accordo).

HL: Avete provato a lavorare con i governi delle altre nazioni indebitate ?

YV: La risposta è no, e la ragione è molto semplice : subito dall’inizio queste nazioni hanno fatto chiaramente capire che sarebbero stati i nemici più forti del nostro governo, subito all’inizio. E la ragione era che il loro più grande incubo era il nostro successo: se avessimo ottenuto un accordo migliore per la Grecia li avrebbe cancellati politicamente: avrebbero dovuto rispondere ai loro elettori perchè non fossero stati in grado di contrattare come noi.

HL : Qual’è il grande problema con le funzioni generali dell’Eurogruppo?

YV Per esemplificare: C’è stato un momento in cui il presidente dell’Eurogruppo ha deciso di mettersi contro di noi e ci ha oggettivamente cacciato fuori, facendoci capire che la Grecia era in uscita dall’Eurozona. C’era una convenzione per cui i comunicati dovevano essere all’unanimità, e che il Presidente non potesse semplicemente riunire l’Eurozona ed escludere uno stato membro. E lui ha detto “Oh sono sicuro di poterlo fare”. allora ho chiesto un’opinione legale. . questo ha causato un po’ di baruffa. Per 5-10 minuti il meeting si è fermato, e funzionari e dirigenti parlavano l’uno con l’altro ed al telefono, e infine un funzionario, un esperto legale, si è rivolto a me dicendo “Beh l’eurogruppo non esiste per la legge, non c’è nessun trattato che riguarda questo gruppo”.Quindi abbiamo un gruppo che non esiste e che ha il maggior potere di determinare le vite degli europei. Non risponde a nessuno, dato che non esiste legalmente: non si tengono minute, ed è riservato. I cittadini non sapranno mai cosa vi si dice, Sono quasi decisioni di vita e di morte, ed i membri non rispondono a nessuno.

HL: E questo gruppo è controllato dagli atteggiamenti tedeschi?

YV: Si completamente e profondamente. Non dagli atteggiamenti: proprio dal ministro delle finanze Tedesco. Ed è come una orchestra ben affiatata di cui lui è il direttore. Tutto avviene in modo accordato. Se ci sono casi in cui non si lavora in accordo, allora lui interviene e rimette tutti in linea.

…..

…..

HL: Avrete pensato ad un Grexit ad un certo punto ….

YV: Certo, assolutamente.

HL .. sono stati fatti dei preparativi?

YV: La risposta è si e no. Avevamo un piccolo gruppo, un “Gabinetto di guerra” nel ministero , di circa cinque persone che stava preparandosi: così abbiamo lavorato sulla teoria, sulla carta, predisponendo tutto quello che si sarebbe dovuto fare (per Grexit) , ma è stata una cosa fatta a livello di 4-5 persone. Una cosa diversa è preparare una nazione per quel fatto. Preparare una nazione (all’uscita) è una decisione esecutiva che deve essere presa, e non è mai stata presa.

HL: ma nelle scorse settimane, c’è stato un momento in cui sentivate che vi ci avvicinavate?

YV: La mia idea era che dovevamo essere ben attenti a non iniziarla. Non volevo che fosse una profezia autorealizzata. Non volevo che fosse come la famosa frase di Nietzche, per cui se tu guardi nell’abisso abbastanza a lungo, l’abisso comincerà a guardare in te. Ma credevo anche che se l’Eurogruppo avesse chiuso le nostre banche, avremmo dovuto dare esecuzione a questo processo.

HL: Bene, quindi c’erano due opzioni, per quel che vedo: una Grexit immediata, o la stampa di IOU e la ripresa il controllo sulla banca di Grecia , quindi potenzialmente o necessariamente precipitando verso grexit.

YV: Certo certo, Non ho mai creduto dovessimo andare diretti verso una nuova valuta. Nella mia idea c’era il fatto che , e l’ho detto al governo, questa era la risposta se avessero osato chiudere le nostre banche, cosa che ritenevo di incredibile potenza aggressiva. ma non di non ritorno. Noi avremmo dovuto emettere i nostri IOU, o per lo meno che avremmo emesso la nostra liquidità denominata in eur.; avremmo dovuto fare un haircut sui titoli del 2012 detenuti dalla BCE o annunciare che lo avremmo fatto; avremmo dovuto riprendere il controllo della banca di Grecia. Questa era il trittico, le tre cose con cui avrei risposto alla chiusura delle nostre banche da parte della BCE.

Io ho avvertito il governo di quello che stava per accadere (che la BCE avrebbe chiuso le nostre banche) per un mese, per portarci ad un accordo umiliate. Quando questo è successo, e molti miei colleghi non pensavano sarebbe successo, la mia raccomandazione, di rispondere “Energicamente”, è stata respinta ai voti.

…….

……..

HL: sarebbe scioccato se Tsipras si dimettesse ?

YV Nulla mi può scioccare in questi giorni, la nostra Eurozona è un posto molto inospitale per la gente decente. Non mi scioccherebbe neanche se restasse ed accettasse anche un pessimo accordo. Perchè posso capire che si senta obbligato verso le persone che lo hanno supportato, che ci hanno supportato, per non far si che il nostro diventi uno stato fallito. Ma io non tradirò il mio punto di vista, che supporto dal 2010, che questo nazione deve smetterla di fingere e dilazionare, che dobbiamo smettere di chiedere nuovi prestiti fingendo che abbiamo risolto i problemi, quando non lo abbiamo fatto, quando abbiamo reso i nostri debiti meno sostenibili a causa di una ulteriore austerità che distrugge la nostra economia e sposta il peso sui poveri, creando una crisi umanitaria. E’ qualcosa che non accetterò e di cui non sarà parte.
 
INTERVISTA INTEGRALE A YANIS VAROUFAKIS
 

Yanis Varoufakis looks despairingly at his computer screen during crisis talks. Photo: Getty
Yanis Varoufakis feels "on top of the world" now his part in the crisis talks is over. Photo: Getty
Read the report from Greece of our interview with Varoufakis here.
This conversation took place before the deal.
Harry Lambert: So how are you feeling?
Yanis Varoufakis: I’m feeling on top of the world – I no longer have to live through this hectic timetable, which was absolutely inhuman, just unbelievable. I was on 2 hours sleep every day for five months. … I’m also relieved I don’t have to sustain any longer this incredible pressure to negotiate for a position I find difficult to defend, even if I managed to force the other side to acquiesce, if you know what I mean.

HL: What was it like? Did you like any aspect of it?
YV: Oh well a lot of it. But the inside information one gets… to have your worst fears confirmed … To have “the powers that be” speak to you directly, and it be as you feared – the situation was worse than you imagined! So that was fun, to have the front row seat.

HL: What are you referring to?
YV: The complete lack of any democratic scruples, on behalf of the supposed defenders of Europe’s democracy. The quite clear understanding on the other side that we are on the same page analytically – of course it will never come out at present. [And yet] To have very powerful figures look at you in the eye and say “You’re right in what you’re saying, but we’re going to crunch you anyway.”

HL: You’ve said creditors objected to you because “I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup, which nobody does.” What happened when you did?
YV: It’s not that it didn’t go down well – it’s that there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. … You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on – to make sure it’s logically coherent – and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply. And that’s startling, for somebody who’s used to academic debate. … The other side always engages. Well there was no engagement at all. It was not even annoyance, it was as if one had not spoken.

HL: When you first arrived, in early February, this can’t have been a unified position?
YV: Well there were people who were sympathetic at a personal level – so, you know, behind closed doors, on an informal basis, especially from the IMF. [HL: “From the highest levels?” YV: “From the highest levels, from the highest levels.”] But then inside the Eurogroup, a few kind words and that’s it, back behind the parapet of the official version.
[But] Schäuble was consistent throughout. His view was “I’m not discussing the programme – this was accepted by the previous government and we can’t possibly allow an election to change anything. Because we have elections all the time, there are 19 of us, if every time there was an election and something changed, the contracts between us wouldn’t mean anything.”
So at that point I had to get up and say “Well perhaps we should simply not hold elections anymore for indebted countries”, and there was no answer. The only interpretation I can give [of their view] is “Yes, that would be a good idea, but it would be difficult to do. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out.”

HL: And Merkel?
YV: You have to understand I never had anything to do with Merkel, finance ministers talk to finance ministers, prime ministers talk to Chancellors. From my understanding, she was very different.  She tried to placate the Prime Minister [Tsipras] – she said “We’ll find a solution, don’t worry about it, I won’t let anything awful happen, just do your homework and work with the institutions, work with the Troika; there can be no dead end here.”
This is not what I heard from my counterpart – both from the head of the Eurogroup and Dr Schäuble, they were very clear. At some point it was put to me very unequivocally: “This is a horse and either you get on it or it is dead.”

HL: Right so when was that?
YV: From the beginning, from the very beginning. [They first met in early February.]

HL: So why hang around until the summer?
YV: Well one doesn’t have an alternative. Our government was elected with a mandate to negotiate. So our first mandate was to create the space and time to have a negotiation and reach another agreement. That was our mandate – our mandate was to negotiate, it was not to come to blows with our creditors. …
The negotiations took ages, because the other side was refusing to negotiate. They insisted on a “comprehensive agreement”, which meant they wanted to talk about everything. My interpretation is that when you want to talk about everything, you don’t want to talk about anything. But we went along with that.
And look there were absolutely no positions put forward on anything by them. So they would… let me give you an example. They would say we need all your data on the fiscal path on which Greek finds itself, we need all the data on state-owned enterprises. So we spent a lot of time trying to provide them with all the data and answering questionnaires and having countless meetings providing the data.
So that would be the first phase. The second phase was where they’d ask us what we intended to do on VAT. They would then reject our proposal but wouldn’t come up with a proposal of their own. And then, before we would get a chance to agree on VAT with them, they would shift to another issue, like privatisation. They would ask what we want to do about privatisation, we put something forward, they would reject it. Then they’d move onto another topic, like pensions, from there to product markets, from there to labour relations, from labour relations to all sorts of things right? So it was like a cat chasing its own tail.
We felt, the government felt, that we couldn’t discontinue the process. Look, my suggestion from the beginning was this: This is a country that has run aground, that ran aground a long time ago. … Surely we need to reform this country – we are in agreement on this. Because time is of the essence, and because during negotiations the central bank was squeezing liquidity [on Greek banks] in order pressurise us, in order to succumb, my constant proposal to the Troika was very simple: let us agree on three or four important reforms that we agree upon, like the tax system, like VAT, and let’s implement them immediately. And you relax the restrictions on liqiuidity from the ECB. You want a comprehensive agreement – let’s carry on negotiating – and in the meantime let us introduce these reforms in parliament by agreement between us and you.
And they said “No, no, no, this has to be a comprehensive review. Nothing will be implemented if you dare introduce any legislation. It will be considered unilateral action inimical to the process of reaching an agreement.” And then of course a few months later they would leak to the media that we had not reformed the country and that we were wasting time! And so… [chuckles] we were set up, in a sense, in an important sense.
So by the time the liquidity almost ran out completely, and we were in default, or quasi-default, to the IMF, they introduced their proposals, which were absolutely impossible… totally non-viable and toxic. So they delayed and then came up with the kind of proposal you present to another side when you don’t want an agreement.

HL: Did you try working together with the governments of other indebted countries?
YV: The answer is no, and the reason is very simple: from the very beginning those particular countries made it abundantly clear that they were the most energetic enemies of our government, from the very beginning. And the reason of course was their greatest nightmare was our success: were we to succeed in negotiating a better deal for Greece, that would of course obliterate them politically, they would have to answer to their own people why they didn’t negotiate like we were doing.

HL: And partnering with sympathetic parties, like Podemos?
YV: Not really. I mean we always had a good relationship with them, but there was nothing they could do – their voice could never penetrate the Eurogroup. And indeed the more they spoke out in our favour, which they did, the more inimical the Finance Minister representing that country became towards us.

HL: And George Osborne? What were your dealings like with him?
YV: Oh very good, very pleasant, excellent. But he is out of the loop, he is not part of the Eurogroup. When I spoke to him on a number of occasions you could see that was very sympathetic. And indeed if you look at the Telegraph, the greatest supporters of our cause have been the Tories! Because of their Eurosceptism, eh… it’s not just Euroscepticsm; it’s a Burkean view of the sovereignty of parliament – in our case it was very clear that our parliament was being treated like rubbish.

HL: What is the greatest problem with the general way the Eurogroup functions?
YV: [To exemplify…] There was a moment when the President of the Eurogroup decided to move against us and effectively shut us out, and made it known that Greece was essentially on its way out of the Eurozone. … There is a convention that communiqués must be unanimous, and the President can’t just convene a meeting of the Eurozone and exclude a member state. And he said, “Oh I’m sure I can do that.” So I asked for a legal opinion. It created a bit of a kerfuffle. For about 5-10 minutes the meeting stopped, clerks, officials were talking to one another, on their phone, and eventually some official, some legal expert addressed me, and said the following words, that “Well, the Eurogroup does not exist in law, there is no treaty which has convened this group.”
So 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. So no citizen ever knows what is said within. … These are decisions of almost life and death, and no member has to answer to anybody.

HL: And is that group controlled by German attitudes?
YV: Oh completely and utterly. Not attitudes – by the finance minister of Germany. It is all like a very well-tuned orchestra and he is the director. Everything happens in tune. There will be times when the orchestra is out of tune, but he convenes and puts it back in line.

HL: Is there no alternative power within the group, can the French counter that power?
YV: Only the French finance minister has made noises that were different from the German line, and those noises were very subtle. You could sense he had to use very judicious language, to be seen not to oppose. And in the final analysis, when Doc Schäuble responded and effectively determined the official line, the French FM in the end would always fold and accept.

HL: Let’s talk about your theoretical background, and your piece on Marx in 2013, when you said:
“A Greek or a Portuguese or an Italian exit from the Eurozone would soon lead to a fragmentation of European capitalism, yielding a seriously recessionary surplus region east of the Rhine and north of the Alps, while the rest of Europe is would be in the grip of vicious stagflation. Who do you think would benefit from this development? A progressive left, that will rise Phoenix-like from the ashes of Europe’s public institutions? Or the Golden Dawn Nazis, the assorted neofascists, the xenophobes and the spivs? I have absolutely no doubt as to which of the two will do best from a disintegration of the eurozone.”
…so would a Grexit inevitably help Golden Dawn, do you still think that?
YV: Well, look, I don’t believe in deterministic versions of history. Syriza now is a very dominant force. If we manage to get out of this mess united, and handle properly a Grexit … it would be possible to have an alternative. But I’m not sure we would manage it, because managing the collapse of a monetary union takes a great deal of expertise, and I’m not sure we have it here in Greece without the help of outsiders.

HL: You must have been thinking about a Grexit from day one...
YV: Yes, absolutely.

HL: ...have preparations been made?
YV: The answer is yes and no. We had a small group, a ‘war cabinet’ within the ministry, of about five people that were doing this: so we worked out in theory, on paper, everything that had to be done [to prepare for/in the event of a Grexit]. But it’s one thing to do that at the level of 4-5 people, it’s quite another to prepare the country for it. To prepare the country an executive decision had to be taken, and that decision was never taken.

HL: And in the past week, was that a decision you felt you were leaning towards [preparing for Grexit]?
YV: My view was, we should be very careful not to activate it. I didn’t want this to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. I didn’t want this to be like Nietzsche’s famous dictum that if you stare into the abyss long enough, the abyss will stare back at you. But I also believed that at the moment the Eurogroup shut out banks down, we should energise this process.

HL: Right. So there were two options as far as I can see – an immediate Grexit, or printing IOUs and taking bank control of the Bank of Greece [potentially but not necessarily precipitating a Grexit]?
YV: Sure, sure. I never believed we should go straight to a new currency. My view was – and I put this to the government – that if they dared shut our banks down, which I considered to be an aggressive move of incredible potency, we should respond aggressively but without crossing the point of no return.
We should issue our own IOUs, or even at least announce that we’re going to issue our own euro-denominated liquidity; we should haircut the Greek 2012 bonds that the ECB held, or announce we were going to do it; and we should take control of the Bank of Greece. This was the triptych, the three things, which I thought we should respond with if the ECB shut down our banks.
… I was warning the Cabinet this was going to happen [the ECB shut our banks] for a month, in order to drag us into a humiliating agreement. When it happened – and many of my colleagues couldn’t believe it happened – my recommendation for responding “energetically”, let’s say, was voted down.

HL: And how close was it to happening?
YV: Well let me say that out of six people we were in a minority of two. … Once it didn’t happen I got my orders to close down the banks consensually with the ECB and the Bank of Greece, which I was against, but I did because I’m a team player, I believe in collective responsibility.
And then the referendum happened, and the referendum gave us an amazing boost, one that would have justified this type of energetic response [his plan] against the ECB, but then that very night the government decided that the will of the people, this resounding ‘No’, should not be what energised the energetic approach [his plan].
Instead it should lead to major concessions to the other side: the meeting of the council of political leaders, with our Prime Minister accepting the premise that whatever happens, whatever the other side does, we will never respond in any way that challenges them. And essentially that means folding. … You cease to negotiate.

HL: So you can’t hold out much hope now, that this deal will be much better than last week’s – if anything it will be worse?                                     
YV: If anything it will be worse. I trust and hope that our government will insist on debt restructuring, but I can’t see how the German finance minister is ever going to sign up to this in the forthcoming Eurogroup meeting. If he does, it will be a miracle.

HL: Exactly – because, as you’ve explained, your leverage is gone at this point?
YV: I think so, I think so. Unless he [Schäuble] gets his marching orders from the Chancellor. That remains to be seen, whether she will step in to do that.

HL: To come back out again, could you possibly explain, in layman’s terms for our readers, your objections to Piketty’s "Capital"?
YV: Well let me say firstly, I feel embarrassed because Piketty has been extremely supportive of me and the government, and I have been horrible to him in my review of his book! I really appreciate his position over the last few months, and I’m going to say this to him when I meet him in September.
But my criticism of his book stands. His sentiment is correct. His abhorrence of inequality… [inaudible]. His analysis, however, undermines the argument, as far as I am concerned. Because in his book the neoclassical model of capitalism gives very little room for building the case he wants to build up, except by building upon the model a very specific set of parameters, which undermines his own case. In other words, if I was an opponent of his thesis that inequality is built into capitalism, I would be able to take apart his case by attacking his analysis.

HL: I don’t want to get too detailed, because this isn’t going to make the final cut...
YV: Yes…
HL: ...but it’s about his metric of wealth?
YV: Yes, he uses a definition of capital which makes capital impossible to understand – so it’s a contradiction of terms. [Click here—link to add: http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/10/08/6006/—for Varoufakis’ critical review of Piketty’s Capital.]

HL: Let’s come back to the crisis. I really understand very little of your relationship with Tsipras…
YV: I’ve known him since late 2010, because I was a prominent critic of the government at the time, even though I was close to it once upon a time. I was close to the Papandreou family – I still am in a way – but I became prominent … back then it was big news that a former adviser was saying “We’re pretending bankruptcy didn’t happen, we’re trying to cover it up with new unsustainable loans,” that kind of thing.
I made some waves back then, and Tsipras was a very young leader trying to understand what was going on, what the crisis was about, and how he should position himself.

HL: Was there a first meeting you remember?
YV: Oh yes. It was late 2010, we went to a cafeteria, there were three of us, and my recollection is that he wasn’t clear back then what his views were, on the drachma versus the euro, on the causes of the crises, and I had very, well shall I say, “set views” on what was going on. And a dialogue begun which unfolded over the years and one that… I believe that I helped shape his view of what should be done.

HL: So how does it feel now, after four-and-a-half years, to no longer be working by his side?
YV: Well I don’t feel that way, I feel that we’re very close. Our parting was extremely amicable. We’ve never had a bad problem between us, never, not to this day. And I’m extremely close to Euclid Tsakalotos [the new finance minister].

HL: And presumably you’re still speaking with them both this week?
YV: I haven’t spoken to the Prime Minister this week, in the past couple of days, but I speak to Euclid, yes, and I consider Euclid to be very close to be, and vice-versa, and I don’t envy him at all. [Chuckling.]

HL: Would you be shocked if Tsipras resigned?
YV: Nothing shocks me these days – our Eurozone is a very inhospitable place for decent people. It wouldn’t shock me either to stay on and accepts a very bad deal. Because I can understand he feels he has an obligation to the people that support him, support us, not to let this country become a failed state.
But I’m not going to betray my own view, that I honed back in 2010, that this country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we’ve solved the problem, when we haven’t; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have nots, creating a humanitarian crisis. It’s something I’m not going to accept. I’m not going to be party to.

HL: Final question – will you stay close with anyone who you had to negotiate with?
YV: Um, I’m not sure. I’m not going to mention any names now just in case I destroy their careers! [Laughing.]

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