Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis took all the criticism leveled against him at the Eurogroup meeting on Friday in his stride. The rules of savoir vivre were put to the side as tension escalated. His Eurozone counterparts blame him for wasting time and of not playing by the rules.
Not one to lose his cool, Varoufakis told Greek journalists on Friday what he has said before concerning provocative statements of foreign factions:-
– He pointed out that when proposals are made, the representatives of institutions state that they agree in private conversations though publicly they take a different stand.
– The institutions have liberal ideas that would be catastrophic for Greece.
– Greece is not willing to agree to ludicrous primary surpluses because they maim growth.
– The institutions need to free themselves from the logic of a program that has failed, while Greece needs to proceed with changes.
– Towards the end of negotiation, there is always a hardening stand that lenders show, hence this shows that we are near the end.
The Greek side remains steadfast in its optimism that there will be an interim agreement to release some of the 7.2 bln euros benchmarked for Greece, that there will be a start to discussions in June for a new agreement, and there will be a reduction in the Greek debt.
On their part, sources from the institutions said that Eurogroup finance ministers made it clear that funds would be released only after a successful review of the Greek economy and full agreement of reforms. There is a certain degree of frustration concerning Varoufakis’ personal style who doesn’t respond to their questions, but appears to give lectures, oftentimes based on “Marxist” views. The blame him for giving lectures rather than exercising politics.