When he served as the Greek finance minister – continuously butting heads with European leaders, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble – Yanis Varoufakis was feted as a David confronting Goliath and dismissed by many as a brainy theorist, toying with an economic community of more than 500 million people.
Deeply entrenched in the front lines of the Greek economic and financial crisis last year, the former economics professor blasted the European Union’s tough-love remedies with phrases such as “Ponzi austerity” and “fiscal waterboarding.”
Mr. Varoufakis, who served as finance minister in the left-of-center Syriza-led government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras from January 2015 until July 2015, played a key role in the frequently stormy negotiations with Greece’s lenders over the handling of the Greek debt crisis. He resigned a day after the July 5 referendum, when Greek voters rejected the country’s third bailout since 2010. He blasted the E.U. creditors’ decision to ignore the vote’s outcome as the European Union’s “democratic deficit.”
Now, Mr. Varoufakis is back in the headlines, this time as the initiator of the “Democracy in Europe Movement 2025,” or DiEM25. The left-wing protest movement, launched Tuesday, aims to challenge what the former Greek politician views as the undemocratic decision-making of the European Union – an institution he refers to as the “Brussels cartel.”