Yanis Varoufakis: “Why I Voted ‘YES’ Tonight”

Yesterday, I posted an article in which Yanis Varoufakis explained why he voted “no” in the “prior actions” vote in the Greek parliament on 16 July 2015.  A week later, on 23 July, Tsipras presented the bailout reform package for ratification by the Greek parliament. ThePressProject then posted another article on their website in which Yanis explained the reasons why he voted “yes” in that vote.

Varoufakis: “Why I Voted ‘YES’ Tonight

In the Eurogroup decision of 20 February we managed to ensure that the word ΄Memorandum΄ (MoU) was not mentioned anywhere. In place, as prerequisite for the successful evaluation of our progress, was a list of reforms, which we were expected to prepare and propose in the next three days. The list would be immediately accepted by the “institutions”.

Indeed, by February 23, the list, which had my signature, was submitted. During the weekend of 20 to 23 of February we worked feverishly. Naturally, we were in constant contact with the representatives of the institutions so as to ensure that no problem would arise, and that our proposal would be endorsed by them at the Eurogroup teleconference of February 24 which would, in turn, approve it.

The finalized list, which I sent to the institutions late at night on Feb. 23 (see here) included our priorities (ex. remediation of the humanitarian crisis, reintroduction of collective employment  negotiations, change of policy in the way public assets are to be treated, no reduction of supplementary pensions etc.). It also included some of their demands.

I had agreed to include some of their demands as a quid pro quo for the inclusion of our primary goals. The measures that we had accepted from them are those which are submitted today to the vote of the Greek Parliament: a) changes to the Civil Code (CC), and b) the inclusion of the EU mandate 2014/59 concerning the “consolidation” of banks and other credit institutions (BRRD).

Even then, I knew that the changes to the CC were full of perils for the human rights of the weaker parts in cases of bankruptcy of businesses or households. On the other hand, the best that could be said for the BRRD was that it was a load of air, as it was supposed to offer legal guarantees for the bank deposits without having secured any kind of financing for the fund, which would insure those guarantees. Besides knowing all that, I reckoned that, in an honest agreement, if we were to secure our “red lines” (ex. Primary surpluses would be expected to be over 1% to 1,5% max., labour rights would be protected and a low VAT) then the CC and BRRD would be a small price to pay. That is the reason why I included those prerequisites in our list.

Today, obviously, things are completely different.

Today our list of reforms, within the boundaries of an honest agreement, does not exist.

Today the only list is the one that the Troika has dictated in is entirety.

Today we are in the aftermath of a humiliating coup rather than an honest agreement.

On February we sacrificed the CC and BRRD in order to gain important benefits.
Now we are giving away the CC and BRRD in order to be asked for even more poisonous measures in a few weeks.

Furthermore, in the document that I had sent to the institutions, I was merely accepting the responsibility of a “new Civil Code” and certainly not the one they would dictate. Nor would I have ever imagined that our government (under the supervision of the Troika) would accept to submit all those changes to the Parliament under the label “urgent”, thus negating all the adjustments and annulling the Parliament.

Last Wednesday I had no other choice but to vote with a thunderous NO. Mine came to stand beside the NO that 61.5% of our compatriots answered to a capitulation under the infamous TINA (there is no alternative). I have denied this for the past 35 years in all 4 continents where I have lived. Today, tonight, those two measures, which I had myself proposed on February, are introduced to the Greek Parliament in a manner that I had never imagined; a manner which adds no credit to the government of SYRIZA.

My disagreement with the way we handled the negotiations after the referendum is essential. And yet, my main goal is to protect the unity of SYRIZA, to support A.Tsipras, and to stand behind E.Takalotos. I have already explained all that in my article with the title Why I voted NO published in EfSyn. Accordingly, today I will vote YES, for two measures that I, myself, had proposed, albeit under radically different conditions and requirements.

Unfortunately I am certain that my vote will not be of any help to the government towards our common goals. And that is because the EuroSummit “prior actions’ deal was designed to fail. I will, however offer my vote with the hope that my comrades will gain some time, and that we, all of us, united, will plan a new resistance to autocracy, misanthropy, and the (facilitated) acceleration and deepening of the crisis.

(i) This morning, while participating at the Financial Committee of the parliament, I ascertained that no colleague of mine, not even the Minister of Justice, agreed with the new civil code. It was a sad spectacle.”

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About Peter Smith

A "foot-soldier" in the wider Post Capitalism Movement. First task - keep spreading the words of change, hope & inspiration.
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