“I’m the finance minister of a bankrupt country,” Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told German weekly DIE ZEIT and ZEIT ONLINE in an interview full of messages and good intentions, just days before his meeting with his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble on Thursday. He promised “a big reform program” and urged the Germans to listen to what Greeks say.
Some quotes from Varoufakis’ interview:
“The Germans need not trust the Greeks, but should listen to them.
We are dealing with a system of cronyism but, instead, we’re debating opening hours of pharmacies.
Germans have to understand we’re not turning away from reform path if we give pensioners an additional €300 per year to a pensioner living on €300 a month. When we talk about reforms, we should talk about cartels, about rich Greeks who hardly pay any taxes. Why does a kilometer of freeway cost three times as much where we are as it does in Germany?
I promise: Excluding interest payments -“Greece will never present a budget deficit again. Never, never, never!”
On recent growth: “Perhaps if you look at things in purely statistical terms. But, in reality, incomes and prices are falling. The existing crisis policies have strengthened political forces on the far right all over Europe – in Greece, in France, in Italy. We need a change of course.”
“I promise: Excluding interest payments – Greece will never present a budget deficit again. Never, never, never!”
Varoufakis is my hero! You NEVER hear words like this from a finance minister. I just hope he’s not lying – which we are ALWAYS used to from finance ministers…
Excellent interview. And as Bloomberg reports by mr. Galbraith: Varoufakis is more deeply acknowledged what is happening in Europe than any of his counterparts he is talking with (I would exclude mr. Draghi).
Here’s the Bloomberg news: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-02/greece-s-new-finance-minister-is-brilliant-so-why-does-he-make-everyone-so-nervous-
With my knowledge of stuff (been into in macroeconomics since 2006 and now I am working on media business with this stuff for 2 years) – Galbraith is right: Varoufakis knows the situation. He has to deal with the clowns.