Opposition parties kept up the pressure on the government Wednesday to give a clearer account of its actions over the revelations in US economist James K. Galbraith’s latest book regarding preparations in Greece last year for a possible exit from the euro.
The opposition pressed home its views on the matter despite the fact that coalition officials distanced themselves from the academic, who clarified exactly what role he played in 2015 while Yanis Varoufakis was finance minister.
Writing on the website belonging to the DiEM25 movement founded by Varoufakis, Galbraith said that he had been asked by the then finance minister in March 2015 to “help with a delicate task.”
“This was the preparation of a preliminary plan – requested by the prime minister – for the contingency that Greece might be forced out of the euro,” he wrote.
Galbraith said that he worked on a memorandum, called Plan X, for six weeks with a small group of experts that were sworn to secrecy. The economist insisted that the final note, which touched on issues such as issuing a new currency, setting up a new central bank and ensuring law and order, was not intended as a blueprint for exiting the euro but “an outline of measures that might have to be taken and of problems that could occur.”
“It was not our mission to make recommendations, and we made none; we were preparing for a scenario that everyone had hoped to avoid,” wrote Galbraith.
Despite the academic’s explanation, Alternate Finance Minister Giorgos Houliarakis launched a strong attack on Galbraith during a session in Parliament Wednesday. “Who is this gentleman?” said the ministry official. “What he is saying is unbelievably frivolous.”
Houliarakis said he had no meetings with Galbraith despite heading the government’s negotiating team with Greece’s lenders. The alternate minister also emphasized that the US economist held no institutional role in the government.
Galbraith’s role was also played down by former energy minister Panayiotis Lafazanis, who now leads the anti-austerity party Popular Unity.
“The [Alexis] Tsipras government never developed at any level a plan to leave the eurozone, just as it never put together a serious plan to negotiate with the creditors.”
Nevertheless, opposition parties called for the claims made by Galbraith to be investigated further.
PASOK leader Fofi Gennimata called for the judiciary to investigate the “secret plans” made by the government during the first half of 2015. PASOK MP Andreas Loverdos suggested that it was a matter for a parliamentary inquiry to look into.
New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said it was more important than ever for Greeks to find out what happened “during those catastrophic first six months of 2015.”
He repeated the conservative party’s call for a parliamentary committee to investigate the events in question.