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Friday 9 December 2016

Ireland played by all the rules for its bailout – Yanis Varoufakis

Published 06/11/2015 | 02:30

5/11/2015 NO REPRO FEE: Pictured is former Greek finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (right) with Kilkeonomics co-founder David McWilliams at Butler House in Kilkenny city before he opened the 6th Kilkenomics festival in St Canice's Cathedral on Thursday night, with a special one to one interview with David McWilliams. Photo: Pat Moore
5/11/2015 NO REPRO FEE: Pictured is former Greek finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis (right) with Kilkeonomics co-founder David McWilliams at Butler House in Kilkenny city before he opened the 6th Kilkenomics festival in St Canice's Cathedral on Thursday night, with a special one to one interview with David McWilliams. Photo: Pat Moore

The Irish government adopted a "model prisoner" strategy regarding austerity, former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said.

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The Government operated under the assumption that it would do everything it was supposed to do in the hope of being released, he added.

"I didn't have any expectations of special support from the Irish finance minister," Mr Varoufakis said, ahead of his appearance at the Kilkenomics festival in Kilkenny last night.

"And the reason that I didn't have those expectations is because this government has adopted the strategy of the model prisoner - do everything we're being told and one day we hope to be released.

"Our government was elected on the basis of a completely different strategy. Simply because our country had been trying to be a model prisoner for five years in previous governments, with disastrous effects, with a humanitarian crisis.

"It was clear for governments that had imposed upon their own populations the model prisoner model... their worst nightmare would be our success."

Mr Varoufakis was speaking ahead of the opening event at the festival, where he spoke to economist David McWilliams in front of a large audience.

The former Greek minister said that to elevate Ireland to the "pantheon of macroeconomic successes is to stretch credulity too much".

"The reason why Ireland is doing so much better than Greece is two-fold. First, you did not have to suffer the austerity that we did," he said.

"The Troika did not insist for instance that the minimum wage is reduced by 40pc. You escaped that.

"If the same policy parameters were imposed on you, you would not be where you are today. You would be in a far, far worse place.

"Ireland is not a paradigm of successful austerity. It is the opposite. It shows that austerity is not as bad if it is not as much."

Mr Varoufakis also said that the main reason why Ireland is able to attract so much foreign direct investment was because of the low corporate tax rate.

He said his biggest regret was that he "played along too much" in terms of his dealings with the Troika, and that he signed the bailout extension beyond the end of February.

Irish Independent

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