Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has responded to David Cameron’s ‘Acropolis now’ jibe — claiming the prime minister’s comments only strengthened the case for Britain to leave the EU.
The former Syriza politician, who has been in contact with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, was mocked by Cameron for being a “failure” and leaving the Greek economy in ruins.
In an opinion piece published in Newsweek, the left-wing economist says he was baffled by the prime minister’s remarks and claims they only highlighted the EU’s downfalls and weakened the case for Britain to remain.
In the article, Varoufakis directly addressed Cameron and George Osborne:
I shall end with a message for the Chancellor (and his Prime Minister):
Michael Gove, Michael Howard, and Boris Johnson are arguing, against you, for Brexit on solid intellectual grounds concerning the EU’s curtailment of your Parliament’s democratic sovereignty. Even though our democracy was indeed crushed last summer by the EU, I happen to disagree with them.
However, I am intrigued that you seem not to realise that by mocking me in that same Parliament you reinforced their already strong case for Brexit. My failure as finance minister was due to the ironclad determination of an authoritarian EU to continue with its failed Greek economic program. My ministry’s Policy Program for Greece, which Brussels pushed aside, I had put together with input from economic experts including Lord Lamont and [American economist] Jeff Sachs. I trust that, with hindsight, you would not have taken that cheap shot. It was one that the “Stay” campaign can ill afford.
The Prime Minister’s comments regarding Varoufakis were in response to a question Labour leader Corbyn asked during Wednesday’s session about tax-free childcare.
Cameron’s response was:
I can announce to the House his [Corbyn’s] latest economic adviser, one Mr Yanis Varoufakis. He was the Greek finance minister who left his economy in ruins. That is Labour’s policy in two words: Acropolis Now.
Here’s what David Cameron said:
Earlier this week when it was reported Varoufakis had been brought in to advise Labour.
However, Varoufakis has been quick to correct this rumour, saying that he has neither been offered nor has taken up an official role as an advisor.
I was never asked (nor would have I accepted if asked) to be an advisor to Jeremy Corbyn or his team. As a full-time politician, and initiator of DiEM25 (Democracy In Europe Movement) it is not my job to advise other politicians. Engaging with parties and organisations across Europe is another matter. It is in this “capacity” that I am involved in Britain with Jeremy Corbyn, his Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, and also politicians from other political parties, including Caroline Lucas (Greens) and my good friend Norman Lamont (Conservative).
Varoufakis served the ruling Syriza party as Minister of Finance for seven months and voted against the terms of the EU’s third bailout package for Greece.
He announced late last year that he wanted to launch a pan-European movement aimed at democratising the EU.