Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis on Friday discussed Greek-German relations on his personal blog. Taking his cue from a recent controversial video, the minister noted that the footage had sparked a “kerfuffle reflecting the manner in which the 2008 banking crisis began to undermine Europe’s badly designed monetary union, turning proud nations against each other.”
Under the title “Of Greeks and Germans: Re-imagining our shared future,” the Greek minister reiterated his staunch opposition regarding Greece’s bailout loans of 2010 and 2012, agreements signed by previous Greek administrations and the country’s partners and lenders.
“The new loans represented not a bailout for Greece but a cynical transfer of losses from the books of the private banks to the weak shoulders of the weakest of Greek citizens,” he wrote.
“In 2010 Greece owed not one euro to German taxpayers. We had no right to borrow from them, or from other European taxpayers, while our public debt was unsustainable. Period!” he continued. “That was my ‘controversial’ point in 2010: In 2010, Greece should have borrowed not one euro before entering into debt restructuring procedures and partially defaulting to its private sector creditors.”
“Well before the May 2010 ‘bailout’, I urged European citizens to tell their governments not to even think of transferring private losses to them,” he said.
Now in 2015, Greece was still in crisis while the Greeks and the Germans have descended to a “mutual ‘blame game,’” said the minister.
According to Varoufakis, the way forward was to end the “toxic” game and the “moralizing finger-pointing” and focus on the two countries’ joint interest which would be to “grow and reform Greece rapidly, so that the Greek state can best repay debts it should never have taken on while looking after its citizens as a modern European state ought to do.”
In more practical terms the minister noted that the “20th February Eurogroup agreement offers an excellent opportunity to move forward. Let us implement it immediately, as our leaders have urged in [Thursday’s] informal Brussels meeting.”
The post concluded with a thought on the future: “Our joint task is to re-design Europe so that Germans and Greeks, along with all Europeans, can re-imagine our monetary union as a realm of shared prosperity,” said Varoufakis.