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Europe off the cliff

June 19th, 2012
05:04 PM ET

By Lucky Gold

We don’t need more time to hang ourselves

(CNN) - In the aftermath of its most recent election, will Greece remain in the eurozone, and will a pro-bailout government begin a recovery?

Yannis Varoufakis, Professor of Economics at the University of Athens doesn’t think so:

“Even if God, his angels and every good man and woman on this planet were to descend on Greece and form a government with a purpose and commitment to implement this bailout agreement, it would simply not be possible.”

Appearing Tuesday on Amanpour, Varoufakis went even further: “We don’t need more time to hang ourselves. We don’t need different dosages of the same poison. We need another approach.”

Varoufakis warned that “what Greece has done is to prolong a very agonizing death. It is bringing down with it, yet again, spreading contagion to the rest of Europe…What is happening here in Greece is the template which is being imposed upon Spain.”

Calling it a “death embrace between insolvent banks and insolvent states,” Varoufakis cautioned that “Greece is quite small and insignificant, but Spain is too large to ignore and it is bringing down with it the whole of the eurozone.”

We have tried to use petrol with which to extinguish the fire

Joining the discussion was Gillian Tett, U.S. Managing Editor of The Financial Times. While agreeing with Varoufakis’s economic assessment, she spoke of another danger: “We’re also seeing something much more subtle, which is political contagion.”

She noted that a far left party almost won the election: “It didn’t win this time – the emphasis should be ‘this time’ – but across Spain, across even the Netherlands, across other parts of Europe, we’re seeing increasing rise of extremist politics and that’s very dangerous.”

Adding a warning of her own, she said, “What you can predict with great confidence is that in a year’s time the electorate will be feeling even angrier with the government they just elected. That will open the door to more extremism in the future.”

Responding to the suggestion that the contagion actually began in the United States and spread to Europe, Varoufakis said, “It is quite true that the euro block of flats caught fire from the United States block of flats next door. But it’s also quite true that we have tried to use petrol with which to extinguish the fire and the flames, instead of water.”

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. simeon silas

    it is very unfortunit that people are blind decision.they is no body to be blam,since every body is guilty.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  2. danallen2

    The need to blame comes from religious and moralist tendencies that get in the way of actually solving the problem. The blame game is necessary after a solution has been reached in order that the same mistakes are not repeated.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:41 am | Reply
  3. Ricardo

    I wish I could see this whole god thing as a phase, but it doesn't seem to want to die. And while I fully appriciate that these guys are just in it for the money, their msaesge has changed over the years. There was a time when to passively resist was the msaesge, even to lead by example is fine. But the whole warriors thing strikes me as volatile, it is sending an entirely different msaesge. Trying to change a culture, as ABC so delicately put it, is impossible and silly. Even if people just go, have fun and come home, I think it's instilling a greater possibility of misinterpretation. Force that religion, push it in my face, tell me what is wrong.

    July 9, 2012 at 4:25 am | Reply

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