As it happened- Yanis Varoufakis' intervention during the 27th June 2015
"The Eurogroup Meeting of 27th June 2015 will not go down as a proud moment in Europe’s history. Ministers turned down the Greek government’s request that the
Greek people should be granted a single week during which to deliver a Yes or No answer to the institutions’ proposals – proposals crucial for Greece’s future in the Eurozone. The very idea that a government would consult its people on a problematic proposal put to it by the institutions was treated with incomprehension and often with disdain bordering on contempt. I was even asked: “How do you expect common
people to understand such complex issues?”. Indeed, democracy did not have a
good day in yesterday’s Eurogroup meeting! But nor did European institutions.
After our request was rejected, the Eurogroup President broke with the convention
of unanimity (issuing a statement without my consent) and even took the dubious
decision to convene a follow up meeting without the Greek minister, ostensibly to
discuss the “next steps”.
"Can democracy and a monetary union coexist? Or must one give way? This is the pivotal question that the Eurogroup has decided to answer by placing democracy in the too-hard basket. So far, one hopes.
Intervention by Yanis Varoufakis, 27th June 2015 Eurogroup Meeting
"In our last meeting (25th June) the institutions tabled their final offer to the Greek
authorities, in response to our proposal for a Staff Level Agreement (SLA) as
tabled on 22nd June (and signed by Prime Minister Tsipras). After long, careful
examination, our government decided that, unfortunately, the institutions’
proposal could not be accepted. In view of how close we have come to the 30th June
deadline, the date when the current loan agreement expires, this impasse of
grave concern to us all and its causes must be thoroughly examined.
"We rejected the institutions’ 25th June proposals because of a variety of
powerful reasons. The first reason is the combination of austerity and social
injustice they would impose upon a population devastated already by…
austerity and social injustice. Even our own SLA proposal (22nd June)
is austerian, in a bid to placate the institutions and thus come closer to
an agreement. Only our SLA attempted to shift the burden of this
renewed austerian onslaught to those more able to afford it – e.g.
by concentrating on increasing employer contributions to pension
funds rather than on reducing the lowest of pensions. Nonetheless,
even our SLA contains many parts that Greek society rejects.
"So, having pushed us hard to accept substantial new austerity, i
n the form of absurdly large primary surpluses (3.5% of GDP
over the medium term, albeit somewhat lower than the
unfathomable number agreed to by previous Greek
governments – i.e. 4.5%), we ended up having to make
recessionary trade-offs between, on the one hand, higher t
axes/charges in an economy where those who pay their dues
pay through the nose and, on the other, reductions in
pensions/benefits in a society already devastated by
massive cuts in basic income support for the multiplying
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