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Yanis's 'not in the loving business' answers to Miriam had people talking today

The former ‘rock star’ Greek finance minister sat down for a chat with Miriam O’Callaghan.

MIRIAM O’CALLAGHAN’S INTERVIEW with former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis had people talking on Twitter today.

The economist turned ‘rock star’ minister stepped down from his role heading up Greece’s negotiation team with the troika back in July.

Varoufakis’s looks, attitude and image (he has a motorbike, and as politicians go that’s pretty interesting) earned him global celebrity status following his appointment to government back in January, you’ll recall.

His EU colleagues didn’t find him quite so charming, though – as he himself acknowledged when he stepped down, writing that he had been ”made aware of a certain preference by some eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my… ‘absence’ from its meetings”.

Now on the lecture circuit, Varoufakis was in Kilkenny yesterday to open the Kilkenomics festival and have an on-stage chat with David McWilliams.

He also made time for a Prime Time interview, sitting down in a nondescript room for a one-on-one with Miriam O’Callaghan…

mir2 Source: RTÉ

It all started amicably enough, with the RTÉ host asking the economist how he thought he had improved the lives of those he represented, during his time in power.

“I succeeded in returning the smile on the face of the vast majority of Greeks,” Varoufakis responded.

He said he and his colleagues in the Syriza-led government had attempted to stand up to a troika that was “absolutely determined to crush us for daring to say that we don’t want more loans unless we have stabilised the economy”.

“That stand we took returned the smile to many people’s faces. This I consider to be a contribution.”

O’Callaghan put it to him that his efforts, in the end, had done little to improve the lot of the Greek people.

“Because we were crushed,” he responded.

“We were faced by an iron-clad troika that had only one objective.

“The objective was to cause our government to surrender and to accept another third huge bailout under conditions that guaranteed we wouldn’t be able to repay that money or the previous loans.”

He added:

“We were defeated. But we fought a good fight.”

yan7 Source: RTÉ

As the interview continued, O’Callaghan quoted a Financial Times article about Varoufakis which observed that the former minister was regarded in eurozone capitals during negotiations as “unbearably garrulous and irritating”.

“Did they all love you?” the presenter asked at one point.

The question was met with a matter-of-fact:

“I don’t believe finance ministers are in the loving business.”

Asked again ”do you think they liked you?” he responded by asking if the troika had ‘liked’ Michael Noonan.

Miriam’s response:

“I think they probably did because in the end Ireland did get a deal on its promissory note.”

greek12 Source: RTÉ

The presenter returned to the same subject area later in the interview – and while the economist appeared unruffled throughout, he did note at one point “it is as if we haven’t had this conversation so far”.

It was all smiles as they finished up, though…

yan5 Source: RTÉ

Read: Tough new reforms passed in marathon late-night session

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About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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