ATHENS – The government’s aim in the negotiations with the creditors is to stop the self-reinforcing crisis and redistribute the burdens, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis stressed on Friday in statements to ‘ERTOpen’. He also underlined that the government had not yet crossed any of its so-called “red lines” and that all issues were still on the table.
None of the issues had yet ‘closed’ and “until they are closed, there is nothing,” the minister added.
“The people elected us to accept the cost of a drawn-out negotiation,” Varoufakis stated. Replying to those pushing for a full-on clash with the creditors, he stressed that this was not the reason why he was elected, just as he hadn’t been elected to “implement the Hardouvelis e-mail.”
“We are trying to create a framework for an agreement. When this takes shape, we will go to the organs and ask ‘Are we agreed?’. If not, then there is no agreement. If yes, then responsibility is collective,” he said.
He denied that the government was seeking a confrontation in the negotiations, noting that negotiation meant compromise, but also emphasised that it would not simply give in.
“We do not have the means to impose our positions but neither will we give in without a fight,” he said, adding that the problem was political.
He also noted that unless the Greek side was willing to entertain the idea of a falling out, then it would simply cave in and submit to the creditors’ demands, as the previous governments had done.
Regarding Greece’s contacts with other countries, Varoufakis said that the negotiations with Greece’s EU partners concerned an issue that “remains in the European family and must be solved there”.
“Greece does, of course, have bilateral relations and on the basis of our mutual interests makes agreements, transactions and trades based on our view of human rights,” he said.
On the privatisation of Greece’s regional airports, the finance minister said he was unaware of any other country where all the regional airports had been sold to one company without any state participation. “This would not happen in Germany,” he pointed out.
Varoufakis also ruled out elections and, on the issue of a referendum, he noted there was provision for this within Greece’s Constitution, so that the Greek people could decide their future in relation to major issues, and that “it is not at all bad to think about the possibility…”