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The next step in the developing Greece-EU saga played out Monday morning with the surprise resignation of Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis.
Surprising, because his side won yesterday’s referendum with a resounding ‘No’ vote rejecting the EU’s suggested austerity measures and conditions as part of a bailout of Greece and forgiveness of some its burdensome debt.
Varoufakis’ reason for resigning?
In a personal message posted on his personal blog (see full text below), Varoufakis hinted strongly that his presence in future negotiations with the EU was likely going to hurt a positive outcome for both sides, given the very difficult negotiations which have occurred to this point.
To us that sounds like a convenient out and excuse to bail on a situation which Varoufakis knows is likely hopeless, and likely to get much uglier in the coming days. And a situation which Varoufakis himself helped create. Banks remain closed, and Varoufakis’ ‘victory’ in yesterday’s referendum does not solve any of the country’s financial and economic problems.
Varoufakis posted to his personal blog on Monday the following message:
Minister No More!
The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.
Like all struggles for democratic rights, so too this historic rejection of the Eurogroup’s 25th June ultimatum comes with a large price tag attached. It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
Soon after the announcement of the referendum results, I was made aware of a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today.
I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday’s referendum.
And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride.
We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office. I shall support fully Prime Minister Tsipras, the new Minister of Finance, and our government.
The superhuman effort to honour the brave people of Greece, and the famous OXI (NO) that they granted to democrats the world over, is just beginning.