Greece's finance minister
The immovable Yanis Varoufakis
ALMOST every recent Greek finance minister has been an Athens university economics professor moonlighting as a politician. Yanis Varoufakis is no exception. But unlike his predecessors, Mr Varoufakis has become a global celebrity, to the annoyance of many in Syriza, the leftist party in power. To his critics, Mr Varoufakis's lifestyle—riding a powerful motorbike, spending evenings in chic bars and weekends at a smart island villa belonging to his wife—is embarrassingly close to that of the rich Greeks he castigates for avoiding taxes by stashing cash abroad.
The leather-jacketed Mr Varoufakis is not much liked by his euro-zone colleagues either. He lectures them and shows little interest in the details of reforms demanded by Greece's creditors. The pace of negotiations has picked up as Greece's cash crunch gets more acute. But Mr Varoufakis continues to raise obstacles, say officials in Brussels and Frankfurt. He is deeply reluctant to cross any of Syriza's “red lines”: no more cuts in pensions, no more labour reforms, no increases in value-added tax and no privatisations beyond the handful that are already under way.
Divisions within Syriza's economic team do not help. Amazingly, Mr Varoufakis is often away on the international conference circuit. In his absence Yannis Dragasakis, the deputy prime minister, who is close to Mr Tsipras but not to Mr Varoufakis, takes over. His messages to the “institutions”, as the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission are now known (in place of the hated “troika”), are more conciliatory than those of Mr Varoufakis. But their senior officials are still banned by Mr Varoufakis from holding discussions in the finance ministry inAthens.
Greeceis unlikely to reach a deal this month with its creditors. Mr Varoufakis is trying to buy more time. The latest wheeze was to get local authorities and other public agencies to transfer their cash reserves to the central bank. But without a deal,Greece seems certain to run out of money to repay its debts to the IMF and ECB. Some fret that Mr Varoufakis's half-hearted negotiating tactics show a lack of commitment to keeping Greece in the euro. As a fellow economics professor puts it: “Unlike his predecessors, Yanis isn't interested in managing the economy. What he really enjoys is brinkmanship.”
希腊本月与其债权人达成协议看来无望。瓦鲁法克斯财长设法周旋，以拖延时间。最新的举动即让地方政府等机构将其现金储备转移到中央银行。如果双方还未达成协议，希腊很可能为偿还国际货币基金组织与欧洲央行的债务而落得倾家荡产。有些人士万分焦灼，表示瓦鲁法克斯财长在谈判中不太认真，并未表现出希腊留在欧元区的承诺和决心。正如一位经济学教授同仁所言：“真正让瓦鲁法克斯上心的不是管理经济，而是实行边缘政策。” 翻译：石海霞 校对：毛慧