The Greek Finance Minister, Υianis Varoufakis met with his French counterpart, Michel Sapin earlier today, while visiting Paris. In a joint press conference given by the two ministers, Mr. Sapin underlined that the two countries share common beliefs, including the position of Greece in the Eurozone, the need for development which will occur through investments and the need for a fair tax system.
“France will play its role as a friendly nation. France will always be there. The dialogue with all institutions such as the European Union and the International Monetary Fund is necessary,” the French Finance Minister said. Regarding the Greek debt, he underlined that it is “a subject among other topics,” which will be discussed in the context of a new agreement with Greece. “In the future Greece will have the chance to express its opinion regarding the reforms. France will assist Greece on that track. We are confident that the Greek government will table the necessary reforms,” he added.
On his behalf, Mr. Varoufakis noted that today the two ministers sat on the same side of the table “aiming at the average European citizen’s prosperity,” while he added that their dialogue was centered in the European Union’s success and not solely to the success of Greece or France. “My primary concern is that Greece’s bailout program is costing a lot to Europe. The best way to tackle this issue is for Greece to achieve growth and thus to repay the money,” he said in relation to the Greek debt.
Regarding his future visit with the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, Mr. Varoufakis described this development as a “very important” one, adding that the Greek debt programs “have failed so far and there should be a new contract.”
As for the Troika, the Greek Finance Minister characterized it as a technocratic term, referring to the supervision of Greece. “They do not have the authority to negotiate with us. It is a waste of time. It is better to talk directly with the Eurogroup, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” he said.
Finally when asked to comment on a possible displeasure in Germany, Mr. Varoufakis underlined that “anyone seeing a North-South conflict is subversive towards Europe. I want us to be united in Europe, otherwise we will all fall,” he concluded.