الأحد , يونيو 14 2020

Greek PM defends ex-finance minister

Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras

Yanis Varoufakis (left) had a brief but eventful tenure as finance minister in Mr Tsipras’s government

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has defended his former finance minister in a row over an “emergency plan” drawn up in case of Greece’s exit from the euro.

Yanis Varoufakis last week confirmed that he worked on a contingency plan in case emergency funding to the Greek financial system was cut off.

He has been accused of secretly planning a Greek exit from the euro.

But Mr Tsipras said on Friday that he had ordered the plan, adding it would have been “irresponsible” not to do so.

“Of course I issued personal instructions to the finance minister to create a team that would work on a plan of defence in the event of a national emergency,” Mr Tsipras told parliament, according to AP.

“It would have been politically naive… not to do so. Does that mean… that I was seeking an emergency?” he asked.

‘Breathing space’

Mr Tsipras did not directly address the reported details of the plan, which was to have allowed the government to introduce a parallel payment system if the banking system was closed down and the drachma had to be re-introduced.

A small team in the governing Syriza party was charged with investigating how to secretly copy online tax codes and use them to issue new pin numbers for every taxpayer, to be used in transactions with the state.

“That would have created a parallel banking system while the banks were shut as a result of the ECB’s aggressive action to deny us some breathing space,” Mr Varoufakis said in a leaked phone conversation.

Mr Varoufakis later confirmed the existence of the plan, but denied claims that he had wanted to engineer a Greek exit from the euro.

Earlier this month eurozone leaders agreed to offer Greece a third bailout of €86bn, after marathon talks in Brussels.

However the details of the bailout remain to be negotiated between Greece and its creditors.

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