(The Guardian) Greece’s embattled finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, stepped up his war of words with eurozone policymakers on Thursday, saying he wished his country still had the drachma, and would not sign up to any bailout plan that would send his country into a “death spiral”.
With Greece facing a severe cash crisis as it struggles to secure a rescue deal from its creditors, Varoufakis – who has been officially sidelined from the debt negotiations – told a conference in Athens that he would reject any agreement in which “the numbers do not add up”.
Greek GDP figures, published on Wednesday, revealed that the economy has already returned to recession.
“I wish we had the drachma, I wish we had never entered this monetary union,” Varoufakis said. “And I think that deep down all member states with the eurozone would agree with that now. Because it was very badly constructed. But once you are in, you don’t get out without a catastrophe”.
He also warned that a mooted proposal for a bond swap, to ease Athens’ cash-crunch, was likely to be rejected, because it struck “fear into the soul” of European Central Bank president Mario Draghi.
Despite his comments Greece on Thursday offered a concession to its international lenders by pushing ahead with the sale of its biggest port, Piraeus.
Greece has asked three firms to submit bids for a majority stake in the port, a senior privatisation official told Reuters, unblocking a major sale of a public asset as creditors demand economic reforms from Athens.