It’s crunch time on Sunday for Greece.
Citizens will help the government decide — in a “Yes” or “No” referendum — whether the government should accept the conditions that its creditors have put forward for a bailout deal.
In an interview with Australian radio host Phillip Adams on Thursday, Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis gave some colour on what the Eurogroup reaction was at their meeting.
It was less than enthusiastic.
Here’s what Varoufakis had to say:
“I was told in no uncertain terms that this is a very strange and even inappropriate course of action that we’ve taken. And the argument that was given to me by a colleague in the Eurogroup, whose name will remain unsaid, while everybody was more or less nodding, was ‘how dare you put such a complex issue to common folk?’ And I was just looking at them astounded, thinking ‘you have just negated the whole principle of democracy, which is that the common folk determine government; they determine very complex questions during elections.'”
In an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, Varoufakis said he would sign an agreement if Greeks decide to vote “Yes” to the creditors’ proposals, though this vote would force him to to resign.
Varoufakis added that he would, “prefer to cut [his] arm off,” than sign a proposal that doesn’t involve restructuring Greece’s debt.
Varoufakis also doesn’t believe that the Eurogroup officials themselves, who are making these demands, believe that they are feasible.
Here he is, again, in the interview with Phillips:
“The reason why we’re asking for a ‘No’ vote is if we believed there was a smidgen of an iota of a whiff of a possibility that the proposals put to us could be made to work, that Greece could get out of the woods by accepting that proposal, reforming ourselves, and moving ahead, we would have accepted it. We wouldn’t have taken it to the Greek people. It is because we think that there is no such chance. And actually, I don’t even believe that those who are proposing it believe that there is a chance.”
And so, Varoufakis clearly believes the proposals would further hurt Greece, not help it recover.
In a blog post Thursday, Varoufakis listed six reasons why Greeks should vote “No” on Sunday. One of them was that even ‘official Europe’ would vote “No” if they had a chance.