EU: Varoufakis discusses capitalism and democracy in 2016
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The former Greek finance minister confessed during the debate hosted by Unherd’s Freddie Sayers that he was no longer a “reluctant Remainer.” Mr Varoufakis was a vocal supporter of Britain remaining in the EU during the 2016 referendum however the economist admitted that he has since changed his mind over Brexit. He also branded Brussels’ response to Covid as a “never-ending fiasco.”
Professor Varoufakis was asked by Sayers whether now looking back the once ardent pro-European had changed his view of the EU.
He replied: “I think I have.
“Watching the never-ending fiasco of the last thirteen fourteen months ever since the pandemic hit.
“Looking at the way in which yet again our great and good leaders in Brussels and elsewhere managed to miss the opportunity to do that which would be right by the majority of people in every country.
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“Looking at the vaccine fiasco, the corruption and incompetence of the Commission I have to confess, but don’t tell anyone who is watching, that I have changed my mind.
“I think that Brexit in the end when you are weighing things up was probably the right way for Britain. ”
Professor Varoufakis was also pressed on whether he believed Greece was right not to leave the European Union at the height of the Eurozone crisis.
Greece came close to crashing out of the bloc in 2015 as Athens clashed with the EU Commission over a planned bailout for the country’s faltering economy.
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He told Unherd: “Absolutely, but I wish we had gone all the way to the edge.
“I was trying to push our government all the way to the edge but it turned out behind my back my prime minister had agreed with Angela Merkel that they wouldn’t go to the edge and that he would capitulate.
In July that year, the bailout was thrown out in a referendum with the Greek people voting 62 percent against and 38 percent in favour.
Varoufakis, a member of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s cabinet at the time, recalled: “And I found out later that was the case when we got a thumping 62 percent of the people – very courageous people – saying no we are going to go to the edge.
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“But the prime minister on that night effectively overthrew the people. He had called upon them to back the no vote and that very same night said to me it’s time to surrender. “
He continued: “I said, tonight is the time to push things to the edge and if we needed to get out of the Euro, fine.
“If we could have a debt structure within Europe again, fine.
“What was not fine was the surrender to this permanent concealment of our insolvency.”
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