Dijsselbloem now optimistic over Greece’s prospects; says Varoufakis negotiations in 2015 catastrophic

28 August 2018
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Former Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, one of the protagonists in the 2015 Greek crisis that engulfed the Eurozone, on Monday expressed optimism over Greece’s future, speaking on an Athens television station’s live prime-time newscast.

At the same time, he said time is necessary to restore the confidence towards the country, and to overcome the major problems faced by Greek citizens.

Speaking in Ant1’s news studio, the former Dutch finance minister also noted that Greece now has the flexibility to apply a policy aimed more at society’s needs, while avoiding past problems.

He also admitted that mistakes were made in the past by European partners in managing the economic crisis, with four years needed for Europeans to finally create mechanisms to deal with the crisis. He also said numerous mistakes were made by Greek politicians before the crisis.

Berlin was also not spared criticism by Dijsselbloem, which he said delayed acceptance of a collective European action plan employing bailout programs in EZ countries at risk.

Asked about closed-door negotiations that took place between creditors and the Tsipras government in the first half of 2015, the Dutch politician said Yanis Varoufakis’ handling of the negotiations as the Greek finance minister was catastrophic. He said his first direct contact with Alexis Tsipras came in early February after the first Eurogroup meeting, since the SYRIZA-AN.EL coalition came to power, and a failure to reach an agreement.

Additionally, he said Varoufakis continuously tried to sabotage negotiations between creditors with the Greek prime minister himself.

In reference to a controversial proposal at the time by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, namely, to fund a temporary exit by Greece from the Eurozone, he said he was unsure whether Schaeuble was serious about the prospect, while nevertheless adding that when the German finance minister made a proposal, he was sincere.

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