Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said on Monday that Athens had a Plan B that never materialized and that Greece made mistakes over its bailout negotiations.
Varoufakis gave an interview to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in which he took the responsibility for some of the mistakes the Greek government made in the long negotiations with the troika of international creditors. However, he insisted on putting the blame to lenders for the austerity reforms the third bailout package entails.
“The very powerful troika of creditors were not interested in coming to a sensible, honorable, mutually beneficial agreement,” he said. “They were far more interested in humiliating this government and overthrowing it, or at least making sure that it overthrows itself in terms of its policies, than they were interested in an agreement that would for instance ensure that they would get most of their money back,” he added.
Regarding negotiations and the alternative plans Greece had, Varoufakis revealed that there was a plan for a temporary national currency.
“It’s not true we did not have a Plan B. We had a Plan B,” Varoufakis said. “We, in the Ministry of Finance, developed it. Under the aegis of the Prime Minister, who ordered us to do this, even before we came in the Ministry of Finance.”
Varoufakis said that the plan was a temporary national currency, a euro-denominated currency the government would print, pegged to the value of the euro. This way the country would avoid an exit from the Eurozone.
“The fact of the matter is that the Plan B was not energized — I didn’t get the green light to effect it, to push the button, if you want,” Varoufakis said, adding that this was one of the reasons he resigned.
Speaking of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the harsh reforms he agreed to implement in order for Greece to get financial aid and avoid bankruptcy, he said that he didn’t have another choice: “He was faced with a choice: Commit suicide or be executed,” he said characteristically.
“Alexis Tsipras decided that it would be best for the Greek people for this government to stay put and to implement a program which the very same government disagrees with,” Varoufakis said.
“People like me thought that it would be more honorable, and in the long term more appropriate, for us to resign. This is why I resigned. But I recognize his arguments as being equally powerful as mine,” he added.