Monday 5 December 2016

The Punt: Riga rockets for Varoufakis

Published 25/04/2015 | 02:30

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: Bloomberg
Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: Bloomberg

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis suffered a rather bruising encounter with his fellow Eurozone finance ministers when they convened in the Latvian capital over the last few days.

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Bloomberg reported that ministers hurled abuse at him at the behind-closed-doors meeting, during which Varoufakis was heavily criticised and given a dressing-down over his failure to deliver economic reforms.

Eurozone finance chiefs said Varoufakis's handling of the talks was irresponsible and accused him of being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur.

Ouch.

And yet, Mr Varoufakis put on a brave face in public.

He said the two sides have come "much closer together" and Greece was aiming for a deal as soon as possible.

Perhaps he caught his European colleagues on a bad day, because it would appear that Varoufakis' boss, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, may have riled them after he tried to bypass their veto on financial aid with an appeal to Angela Merkel on Thursday.

Tsipras sought to circumvent the finance ministers' authority, pleading his case with the German Chancellor and French President Francois Hollande on the sidelines of a summit on immigration in Brussels.

Mr Varoufakis won't have fond memories of his trip to Riga.

Irish Independent

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