Heard in Europe

So varewell then Yanis Varoufakis – it’s been a vantastic six months.

This morning brought the heartbreaking news that the Vin Diesel of finance ministers was stepping down from his role as bad boy of the bailout.

You can read his characteristically incendiary farewell blog, where he boasts of “wearing the creditors’ loathing with pride”, here.

Heard in Europe will miss the leather jacket toting, motorbike-riding icon, as will the whole of the Brussels press corps.

For we here in the capital of Europe are often starved of politicians with personality, or even politicians who actually say something worth quoting.

The lack of plain-speaking – demonstrated once again at today’s cut-short Commission midday briefing on Greece – is a curse.

But it was a curse that Yanis could lift, if only for a brief, shining moment, with a well-aimed barb or pithy put-down.

Granted, his departure may have had something to do with his promise that Greece’s banks would reopen in 24 hours after the referendum.

But it is just as likely, in our considered view, that the bloodless, craven coven of eurozone finance ministers decided they just weren’t going to play ball with Yanis anymore.

So in honour of the man who was too cool for the EU, Heard in Europe has decided to pay tribute to Yanis in what has become the traditional way of all media…

By collecting together the funniest internet memes doing the rounds after his defenestration.

And for one final time….

Photo courtesy of Flickr and Brookings Institution. Published under a Creative Commons licence.

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  1. Sometimes we wonder whether EurActiv had any humour, but at last some came through.

    Importantly the issue is as we all know – that is all of Us personally – is that when you are over-drawn with your Banks a reckoning has to be organised. Can anyone in this arena be more than aware that in Personal Banking as with International Banking you always have to pay your debts. Did not Argentina have a similar issue in the 1990s? They managed and survived.

    Unfortunately the issue we see here is that the “gap” between the External Banks and Greece is not that wide. However why has it taken so long for the message to get through? The Mega-Rich Companies in Greece that have profited immensely from annual turnovers of €50+Billions for over 10 years have paid very little Corporation Taxes and the same is true for the Financial Institutions. If by simple accounting three Companies generating €50 Billion each over 5 years each fail to pay their 10% taxes then the Country loses €75 Billion in taxation revenue. And when you consider that there are Mega-Rich individuals )around 10 of them) as well that have equally “earn’t” around €2 Billion each over the parallel 5 years then you need say very little.

    On the front line though, retiring at 58 years is not at all realistic these days.

    There are common analogies with other countries and the issue of reigning back expenditure as well as the Civil Service [Military included] has to be a target. Greece is not alone here for even in the UK they are proposing to spend over €150 Billion on new Wrapons of Mass Destruction housed in over-priced and stupid Nuclear Submarines. This we have seen as a parallel to building new Aircraft Carriers for the Navy and then the Government finds that they cannot afford the aircraft for same. All of this in this latter sense seems somewhat contradictory when we are rapidly moving away from manned aircraft and ships to remote controlled alternatives.

    Anyway back to the framed icons in the article. Star Trek’s Dr Spock analogy has other overtones to the message. Think logically through the issues and there then becomes an opportunity to assist Greece. We know of one (of four) companies that would be willing to assist Greece in its basic infrastructure needs even now provided there was a helpful Government. Remedying the malady of the basics can help and the option seen by one of these Companies is to assist Greece make its own Transportation Fuels from Renewable Resources and deliver these for use by the Public at less than €urocents 80 per litre. There are others who are also proposing further betterments and these opportunities are still around.

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