European Leaders Stunned with Greek Defiance


Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis put it rather bluntly, calling the euro monetary union a “house of cards” and noting that if the Greek card is removed, “they all come down.”

His defiance, along with a fiery “state of the Union” like speech to the Greek Parliament on Sunday by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, have left European leaders and economists worldwide stunned and have made the debt crisis a hot agenda topic on the upcoming meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama in Washington.

“Exit from the euro does not even enter into our plans, quite simply because the euro is fragile. It is like a house of cards. If you pull away the Greek card, they all come down,” Varoufakis said in an interview with the Italian TV station RAI.

“Do we really want Europe to break apart? Anybody who is tempted to think it possible to amputate Greece strategically from Europe should be careful. It is very dangerous. Who would be hit after us? Portugal? What would happen to Italy when it discovers that it is impossible to stay within the austerity straight-jacket?”

“There are Italian officials – I won’t say from which institution – who have approached me to say they support us, but they can’t say the truth because Italy is at risk of bankruptcy and they fear the consequence from Germany. A cloud of fear has been hanging over Europe over recent years. We are becoming worse than the Soviet Union,” he concluded.

He shared similar sentiments with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview.

Varoufakis described the austerity measures as “trying to extract more milk from a sick cow by whipping it. You will kill it. You will not get more milk out of it.”

Tsipras maintains the same party line.

His coolness has caught Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin, and the markets off guard. Most people assumed that the 40-year political rookie would back away from exorbitant demands in his landmark policy speech to the Greek parliament on Sunday night. Instead Europe heard a declaration of war.

Tsipras defiantly vowed to implement every measure in Syriza’s pre-electoral Thessaloniki Programme “in their entirety” with no ifs and buts. This even includes a legal demand for €11bn of war reparations from Germany, a full 71 years after the last Wehrmacht soldier left Greek soil.

“Greece shouldn’t assume that the overall mood in Europe has changed to the point that the euro zone would endorse Mr. Tsipras’s entire government agenda without limitations,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters at an event near Berlin.

Berkeley economist Barry Eichengreen warned that a Grexit would be “Lehman squared”, setting off a calamitous chain reaction with worldwide consequences.

“What they want to do has nothing to do with all the agreements which have been made,” German lawmaker Michael Fuchs, deputy caucus chairman of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in parliament, said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “If Greece at the end of the day says the only way to get rid of the pressure is to step out of euro zone, it’s up to them. We are prepared for this moment.”




    • Chris De Gruyter on

      Totaly agree! European community is only there to milk out its people and has brought nothing but rules and high prices. Big applause for the greek govnement to stand up against European politicians!

      • I fundamentally disagree. The EU is the sole reason why Europe has not gone down must faster than it is.The EU is the one thing that tells to the world that Europe matters. Cause be very clear, except for germany and a bit UK and France, nobody in the world cares about european countries as they don t care about small african countires. The sole reason why china, russia, india, the US… even remotely find Europe relevant economically is because there is a Union.

        You are not looking correctly the state of Europe… Personally, I ve been stunned by the fact that Europe has held together so well despite all the problems of all countries…

  1. Michael Hinchliffe on

    I agree totally as well and wonder what it is that keeps so many people from seeing the truth.There is no one as blind as those who don,t want to see or are they afraid of losing face (or fortune).A real man admits he is wrong and doesn,t lose face, why can,t our (?) politicians do the same. It is painfully obvious for all to see that they have been wrong and it is Greece who has come to the rescue of Europe again.

  2. I agree totally as well and can,t understand why so many people and politicians can,t see the truth.They have made a mistake, Europe is suffering( most of us)whilst a few live in luxury or cloud cuckoo land.Even a child can see the simple mathematics of the situation, the IMF, the Commission and all the rest got it wrong, they haven,t learn,t from history, why are they running everything into the ground? Thank God Greece, Great little Greece, has come to the rescue of Europe and all Europeans

  3. Greece has always been treated like a step-child by the west. The U.S. expects full loyalty from Greece as a NATO member and western ally while it supports aggression against Greece by Turkey. The Cyprus problem and the Turkish occupation of this predominantly Greek island has been ignored by the west for 41 years. U.N. resolutions against Turkey are not enforced continued aggression by Turkey keeps Greek defense forces on constant alert. Europe admitted Greece as well as Cyprus into the EU and yes they provided finance by making credit available to the residents of these two countries. Truth is however that this was an ill-conceived, economic approach to growth based on supply-side economics-Greece and Cyprus are not Germany or Norther Europe or vice-versa. Besides vastly different economic philosophies. there are cultural, religious as well as political and ideological parities that have all culminated in a schism which proves that a united Europe is not an attainable goal. Europe is not a “melting-pot” and it will never be. there is no way for example that you will convince a Brit to forget the past and love his French neighbor. they may coexist but they will never become citizens of one country! Britain is considering a Brexit despite the fact that they are a lender to Europe and not a creditor. The UKIP success in the latest elections in the U.K. are a clear message by their public that full integration into Europe is not the majority consensus. Italy is next as their economy is also on the brink of bankruptcy under the Berlin-based dictate. What’s next for Greece? it is clearly unclear, some things will remain constant, the love of life and real freedom by its citizens. the supply of ouzo, octapodi and calamari will not waver and the wine will continue to flow from its sun-drenched vineyards. The Gods chose Greece as their home. Greece’s beauty is eternal and the spirit of REAL democracy cannot be assassinated by any fascist!

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