Greece’s new prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, are each meeting with their Italian counterparts today as they continue to bring their anti-austerity message across Europe. Speaking in London Monday, Varoufakis sought to calm fears over the Syriza party’s plans to renegotiate Greece’s international bailout.
Yanis Varoufakis: “My message to our German friends, and indeed to all Europeans, is that no hand will be overplayed, because we’re not entering this in a confrontational manner. This is what journalists love to portray the situation as, as a kind of Wild West showdown. This is not it. What we have here is different European governments with a common objective, and that is to find — to strike a mutually beneficial deal, one that minimizes the cost of this crisis for the average European, not for the Greeks, not for the Germans, but thinking from a European perspective.”
In an interview with the Financial Times, Varoufakis appeared to back down on Syriza’s call for a debt write-off, suggesting Greece could swap its debts for bonds linked to economic growth. Varoufakis later issued a clarification, saying, “If we need to use euphemisms and financial engineering tools … we will. The bottom line, however, is the same.”