Yanis Varoufakis: ‘Send Michael Noonan packing’
Former Greek finance minister addresses Right2Change meeting via videolink
Ireland faces a “stark choice” at the next election between those who have imposed austerity on the Irish people and those who have an alternative vision, the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said.
“The Irish general election will either condone and legitimise the Irish people’s violation at the hands of an unscrupulous local regime and a brutal European Central Bank, ” he said.
“Or the general election will repudiate and condemn those who violated the Irish people. Your government did what all oligarchs wanted them to do - they blamed the victims.
“(Enda) Kenny said Irish people went mad borrowing. Really? What happened is that a small band of Irish international bankers, developers and politicians built up a gargantuan debt that you have to take on.”
Mr Varoufakis, an academic economist, became Greece’s finance minister when Syriza took power in January 2015.
He resigned seven months later claiming that the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras had reneged on his promise to renegotiate Greece’s debt deal with the EU.
Speaking via video link to the Right2Change meeting, he accused Mr Noonan of failing to support debt relief for the Greek people at EU level because it would draw attention to his own failure to fulfil his commitments to get debt relief for Irish people too.
“Now you have a chance to send Mr Noonan packing. Our struggle was also a struggle for the Irish people. If our moderate proposals prevailed, a template would have been created for Irish debt restructuring for the end of debt in Dublin.”
He also made reference to Mr Howlin’s remarks during his budget speech, “who speaks of Syriza now?” in which the Minister for Public Expenditure contrasted growth rates in Ireland with the stagnation in the Greek economy.
Mr Varoufakis told the meeting in the Mansion House: “Brendan Howlin had the audacity to say, ‘who speaks of Syriza now?’. That is why why they (the European Union) crushed us. They crushed to us to crush your spirits, to lie to your faces and still get relected on the platform and the campaign of fear.
“I trust that the people of Ireland will crush the hopes of their political establishment. It is crucial for all of Europe that this happens.”
Mr Varoufakis has been involved with a number of other left-wing campaigners in the foundation of the DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025), which was launched in Berlin last week.
Its purpose is to democratise the institutions of the European Union or “it will disintegrate with terrible consequences for everyone”, he warned.
He said those involved in the Right2Change movement were seeking to put the “demos” back into Irish democracy “in a way the Irish people deserve.”