Greek Reporter, May 16
The government’s aim in the negotiations with the creditors is to stop
the self-reinforcing crisis and redistribute the burdens, Greek
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis stressed on Friday in statements to
‘ERTOpen’ [self-managed broadcaster created when previous/Samaris
gov't closed ERT public broadcaster] . He also underlined that the
government had not yet crossed any of its so-called “red lines” and
that all issues were still on the table.
“None of the issues have yet closed and until they are closed, there
is nothing,” the minister added.
“The people elected us to accept the cost of a drawn-out negotiation,”
Varoufakis stated. Replying to those pushing for a full-on clash with
the creditors, he stressed that this was not the reason why he was
elected, just as he hadn’t been elected to “implement the Hardouvelis
e-mail." [Eurozone stance of previous FinMin]
“We are trying to create a framework for an agreement. When this takes
shape, we will go to the organs and ask ‘Are we agreed?’. If not, then
there is no agreement. If yes, then responsibility is collective,” he
He denied that the government was seeking a confrontation in the
negotiations, noting that negotiation meant compromise, but also
emphasized that it would not simply give in.
“We do not have the means to impose our positions but neither will we
give in without a fight,” he said, adding that the problem is
He also noted that unless the Greek side was willing to entertain the
idea of a falling out, then it would simply cave in and submit to the
creditors’ demands, as the previous governments had done.
Regarding Greece ‘s contacts with other countries, Varoufakis said
that the negotiations with Greece’s EU partners concerned an issue
that “remains in the European family and must be solved there”.
“Greece does, of course, have bilateral relations and on the basis of
our mutual interests makes agreements, transactions and trades based
on our view of human rights,” he said.
On the privatisation of Greece’s regional airports, the finance
minister said he was unaware of any other country where all the
regional airports had been sold to one company without any state
participation. “This would not happen in Germany,” he pointed out.
Varoufakis also ruled out elections and, on the issue of a referendum,
he noted there was provision for this within Greece’s Constitution, so
that the Greek people could decide their future in relation to major
issues, and that “it is not at all bad to think about the