Yanis Varoufakis is the new finance minister of Greece, after the far-left party Syriza won a resounding victory in Greece last week.
Before being elected to parliament and named finance minister, Varoufakis was an economics professor and regular blogger.
His site is called “Thoughts for our post-2008 world,” and it generally focuses on the economics of Europe in, predictably, a post-2008 world.
His new role has not kept him from blogging. On Thursday, he took on the media’s reporting of Syriza’s stance on Russian sanctions.
Here’s a little background: On Tuesday, Greece refused to sign on to new sanctions against Russia that the EU wants to implement. This is a problem because the vote requires unanimity. “Greece’s new government questioned moves to impose more sanctions on Russia, adding a foreign-policy angle to its challenge to the status quo in Europe,” according to Bloomberg.
This unnerved a lot of people in Europe, and was taken by some to mean that Syriza is using Russian sanctions as a bargaining chip in its quest to get Greece’s debt restructured (which is its stated goal, in general).
But according to Varoufakis’s post today, that’s not what happened at all. In his words:
Our Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, briefed us that on his first day at the job he heard in the news bulletins that the EU had approved new sanctions on Russia unanimously. The problem was that he, and the new Greek government, were never asked!
So, according to Varoufakis, it’s not about foreign policy brinksmanship, it’s about demanding a seat at the table before agreeing to something. To be fair, Bloomberg does address that in its article. Here’s the third paragraph:
“Greece doesn’t consent,” the government said in a statement. It added that the announcement violated “proper procedure” by not first securing Greece’s agreement.”
But Varoufakis thinks that, in general, the media didn’t do a very good job with this story. And here comes the snark at the end:
Could journalists the world over try to draw this important distinction between protesting our being neglected from protesting the sanctions themselves? Or is this too complicated?
Completely earnestly, I say, we should have more blogging finance ministers. This is going to be fun.
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