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Yanis Varoufakis: Bold politician with a selfless approach to work

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By Gaurav Sharma

Even as Greeks ticked off the OXI(NO) mark on the referendum proposing austerity measures, the man behind the resounding NO was no longer present in his official capacity.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s combative finance minister announced his resignation on Monday morning after “he was made aware of a preference from some European participants that he be absent from the meetings”.

Last week, Varoufakis had threatened to quit in the event of a YES vote. Now that the Greeks have unanimously vote NO, the resignation comes as a rather unexpected call.

Varoufakis, however wears the patriotic heart on his sleeve. Pledging his loyalty to the cause of Greek referendum, Varoufakis said it was his duty to help the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras to exploit, as he saw fit, the capital that the Greek people granted them through yesterday’s referendum.

“And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride”, exclaimed a contented Varoufakis.

Varoufakis was the fulcrum behind rallying of the resounding NO vote through which Greece rebuffed European leaders’ attempt to stymie Greece with austerity proposals that were precociously bending towards punitive measures.

Instead, the rational and forthright minister suggested a prompt conclusion of an agreement that would consist of less austerity and more debt restructuring and adoption of needy, real reforms.

Fierce and Forthright

The boldness that Varoufakis brought to the diplomatic table was unparalleled with the conventional bureaucratic modus operandi. This was seen in his outspoken, critical and fierce media interactions.

One can define him as a radical leader, especially in reference to his contentious remark that Greece creditors were simply “terrorists”.

The ex-finance minister’s overview of the bailout providers as being built on “rotten foundations”, also proves his no-holds-barred approach as a politician.

“I’d rather cut my arm off”, another of Varoufakis’ outspoken response to signing the bailout proposals not including debt restructuring, shows his dogged determination to withstand alluring temptations.

Witty, Wise and Fearless

Not one to take himself too seriously, Varoufakis’s Twitter bio, “Economics professor, quietly writing obscure academic texts for years, until thrust onto the public scene by Europe’s inane handling of an inevitable crisis”, reveals his humorous side in its full colour.

When being asked for his opinion on Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Varoufakis pulled a jocular yet candid assertion that he was an awful little man.

The vocal peregrinations of Varoufakis swung effortlessly from zestful opinions to serious and damning pronouncements on the crisis afflicting the entire eurozone.

A clueless political personnel, in denial of the systemic nature of the crisis, is pursuing policies akin to carpet-bombing the economy of proud European nations in order to save them”,  Varoufakis summed up present day Europe in his powerful words.

Practical Realist

The brutal honesty of Yanis Varoufakis makes him stand out as a top-notch politician. His refusal to bow down before the right wing German autocrats is a testimony of the anti-sycophant attitude with which he worked.

Yet the guy was realistic enough to admit that the left was not yet ready to plug the chasm that a collapse of the European capitalism would open up with a functioning socialist system.

For this reason and for the objective of protecting Greece from going into freefall, he was ready to make the sacrifice of his professional career.

How many politicians work with such a bold sacrificial attitude is a question that should be contemplated and indeed answered by all.

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Greeks vote in second general election

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thebalticbriefing.com

Athens: On Sunday, Greeks voted in the second general election this year to elect a new government that will implement the three year bailout agreed in the summer with international creditors.

About 9.8 million citizens of 18 years and above were registered to vote in 19,457 polling stations nationwide. The number of new voters is 108,464.

The two front-runners are former prime minister and leader of the radical-left SYRIZA party Alexis Tsipras and Evangelos Meimarakis of the conservative New Democracy party.

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Tsipras asked weary Greek voters to deliver a “fighting government” capable of “moving forward with difficult reforms” as he cast his ballot in the country’s closely-fought election, the fifth in six years.

“The Greek people will take their future into their own hands… and seal the transition to a new era,” Tsipras said in the working-class Athens district Kypseli. “I’m confident.”

Meimarakis after casting his ballot: “I believe we will have a better future for all Greeks regardless of which party they vote for.

“I hope the result will vindicate Greek people’s sacrifices,” President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said.

Stavros Theodorakis, head of the centrist small Potami party, and Fofi Gennimata, leader of the PASOK socialist party, stressed the need for consensus after the elections.

(IANS)

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Greek bailout tranche disbursed on time

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Athens: The first tranche of Greece’s new bailout programme — the third in five years — was disbursed on Thursday on time allowing Athens to repay its maturing debts to its international creditors, the finance ministry announced.

The announcement came as Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was holding a meeting with his close aides and advisors to examine the prospect of calling snap general elections in later this year, government sources said.

2015-08-20_1840Following the ratification of the new 86 billion euros ($96 billion), three-year bailout by the European Support Mechanism (ESM) on Wednesday evening, the first loan installment of 26 billion euros was paid out, Xinhua reported citing Greek news agency AMNA.

About 13 billion euros was allocated to a special account at the Bank of Greece to automatically repay a 3.4-billion euro debt to the European Central Bank (ECB) due on Thursday, a 2.2 billion euro debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the rest to pay off the 7 billion euro bridging loan ESM granted to the country in July.

Furthermore, 10 billion euros in the form of European Financial Stability Facility bonds will be used to recapitalise Greek banks, while one billion euros will be used for the payment of overdue obligations of the Greek government to the private sector.

The development clears the way for the Tsipras to decide his next moves in the domestic political scene, analysts in Athens noted.

According to the analysts, Tsipras was considering a new confidence vote in his government soon and, in case of failure to win back his party’s “rebels”, will call for snap elections in September or October.

With dissidents within the ruling Syriza party openly blasting the government of making a U-turn on the anti-austerity platform that brought the party to power last January, early polls seem almost inevitable.

Tsipras was thinking about calling the polls as early as September 13, officials said.

The second idea is to hold the elections later in October so that the government passes some bailout policies through the parliament first, on time for the first assessment by creditors that will pave the way for the discussion on the Greek debt relief.

In order to ensure that the measures will be ratified by the assembly with no problems from Syriza MPs , the premier could close the plenary so that the draft bills are put to vote in reduced summer parliamentary sessions where he can control the appointment of Syriza deputies.

(IANS)

One response to “Greek bailout tranche disbursed on time”

  1. Note the 96 Billion $ of so called bail out money, that came from the bank, is being made available to repay- meaning- return the money to the bank. Nothing is left for investment in sectors that is likely to generate wealth that will help the nation to repay their debt. On top of this- Greece will have to privatize many of the services like healthcare, social security, etc. But the exchange between Greece and Euro is being publicized as “AID” or “HELP” which in fact is the aid and help to Bankers.

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EU negotiators arrive in Athens for bailout talks

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

European Union (EU) negotiators arrived in Athens on Friday to begin discussions on a third Greek bailout.

Greek government officials are expected to hold talks during the first high-level negotiations in the Greek capital since leftist Alexis Tsipras became prime minister in January, BBC reported.

The negotiators comprise representatives of the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – the eurozone’s main bailout fund.

The move comes after Greek MPs approved tough new conditions set by the EU lenders last week.

The new conditions included an increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) and pushing back the retirement age. On Wednesday, the ECB increased its cash lifeline to Greek banks by 900 million euros (about $980 million).

The IMF confirmed on Monday that Greece had cleared its overdue debt repayments of 2.05 billion euros ($2.24 billion) and was no longer in arrears.

Greece’s next major deadline is August 20, when it must pay 3.2 billion euros ($3.5 billion) owed to the ECB, followed by a payment of 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to the IMF in September.

(With inputs from IANS)