“The first thing I will do as prime minister is to demand Stοurnaras’ resignation. If need be, I will drag him screaming from the central bank,” Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said about Bank of Greece Governor Yiannis Stournaras in June 2014, according to Yanis Varoufakis‘ book.
This is an excerpt from the former finance minister’s book “Adults in the Room” (Penguin, 2017), describing a meeting between key Syriza members in June 2014, when the leftist party was still in the opposition.
At the time, Syriza’s popularity was rising based on Tsipras’ promises to erase Greece’s debt, while Greek people’s acceptance of the New Democracy-PASOK coalition was dwindling, due to the harsh austerity measures imposed by Greece’s lenders.
In the book, Varoufakis says that at the meeting he was explaining to Tsipras that there were powers trying to strangle the upcoming government of Greece. The plans, he had said, were allegedly masterminded at the level of the European Central Bank.
According to the text, present at the meeting were today’s key cabinet members Euclid Tsakalotos, Nikos Pappas, Giorgos Stathakis and Yiannis Dragasakis. Tsipras got irate at Stournaras and said that he will do anything to get rid of him.
“The first thing I will do as prime minister is to demand Stournaras’ resignation. If need be, I will drag him screaming from the central bank,” Tsipras had said, according to Varoufakis.
The former finance minister further wrote that Tsipras’ colleagues not only agreed with his reaction, but Pappas proposed “even more drastic solutions.”
Varoufakis then explained to Syriza’s leadership the importance of being ready, if the ECB closed the banks, to respond with “a move that could very well break up the euro zone.” Pappas and Tsipras showed enthusiasm for such a tough proposal. Tsakalotos and Stathakis also agreed, with only Dragasakis expressing caution.