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EUCLID TSAKALOTOS - Un alt universitar marxist al Syrizei crescut si educat in spirit marxist in Europa Occidentala, devine ministru de finante al Greciei dupa Varoufakis - profesorul marxist de la Austin University SUA

Cine e Euclid Tsakalotos - inca un marxist revolutionar - format si crescut in Occident

Euclid Tsakalotos, noul ministru de Finante al Greciei, are 55 de ani si coordoneaza din aprilie negocierile cu creditorii internationali, el fiind un economist format la Universitatea britanica Oxford, scrie Mediafax.

Tsakalotos, in varsta de 55 de ani, s-a nascut in orasul olandez Rotterdam. El a absolvit Colegiul pentru Studii Economice al Universitatii Oxford, iar in anul 1989 a obtinut titlul de doctor in economie.

In ultimele luni, economistul a devenit coordonatorul negocierilor cu creditorii internationali.

Tsakalotos este membru al formatiunii de extrema-stanga Syriza de aproape zece ani si este deputat din 2012.

Descris drept "creierul din spatele politicilor economice ale partidului Syriza", Tsakalotos a scris sase carti, abordand inclusiv cauzele crizei economico-financiare din Grecia.

Tsakalotos este un apropiat al lui Tsipras

Tsakalotos incheie - prin depunerea juramantului de ministru al Finantelor - tranzitia Atenei catre un stil de negociere mai conciliant cu creditorii internationali, relateaza agentia DPA.

Spre deosebire de predecesorul sau, taiosul Yanis Varoufakis, care prefera motocicletele, Tsakalotos, de origine olandeza, este moderat si discret.

Poate si mai important, el este un aliat apropiat al premierului Alexis Tsipras.

Dupa o serie de intalniri pline de ranchiuna - in special cu puternicul sau omolog german Wolfgang Schaeuble - Varoufakis a fost marginalizat inca din aprilie, iar Tsakalotos a preluat rolul de coordonator al echipei de negociere a Greciei cu creditorii internationali.

Tranzitia este acum completa.

"Am fost pus la curent cu o anumita preferinta a unora dintre participantii la Eurogrup si unor "parteneri" de acelasi fel fata de... "absenta" mea la intalniri, o idee pe care premierul a considerat-o ca fiindu-i de ajutor in ajungerea la un acord", a scris Varoufakis anuntandu-si demisia.

Spre deosebire de Varoufakis, care este membru Syriza abia dinaintea alegerilor din ianuarie, Tsakalotos este membru al partidului de extrema stanga din 2004. El a fost ales pentru prima data in Parlament in 2012, iar in prezent este membru al Comitetului Central al Syriza.

Nascut la Rotterdam, in 1960, Tsakalotos s-a mutat la Londra impreuna cu familia pe cand era tanar. Dupa ce a invatat si a predat la universitati britanice, s-a mutat in Grecia.

La fel ca Varoufakis, a publicat un numar de carti. Cea mai recenta se intituleaza "The Crucible of Resistance: Greece, the Eurozone and the World Economic Crisis" ("Creuzetul rezistentei: Grecia, zona euro si criza economica mondiala").

Cartea, scrisa impreuna cu Christos Laskos, contesta ideea potrivit careia Grecia nu si-a eliberat economia suficient. Autorii analizeaza dinamica clasei subiacente crizei si argumenteaza ca austeritatea nu a solutionat criza economica. Cartea cauta rezistenta la austeritate si transformarea capitalismului la nivel supranational, european.

Spre deosebire de unii radicali din cadrul partidului, precum Costas Lapavitsas, care argumenteaza ca exista o cale alternativa pentru Grecia, Tsakalotos crede ca si Tsipras ca Grecia trebuie sa ramana in zona euro.

"Nu cerem tratament special, ci tratament egal intr-o Europa a egalilor", declarat el recent, intr-o conferinta de presa.

Euclid Tsakalotos este casatorit cu Heather Gibson, o economista scotiana.

Interviu dat de euclid Tsakalotos unei televiziuni din Australia

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: And to discuss the Greek crisis I was joined a short time ago by Euclid Tsakalotos, economics professor at the University of Athens. He was elected to parliament in the May six elections as a member of the left coalition SYRIZA party, and he's considered a close confidante of leader Alexis Tsipras.

Euclid Tsakalotos, thanks for being there for us.


EMMA ALBERICI: As we go to air, SYRIZA and the other main parties in Greece are having talks with a view to forming a government. What is the prospect that that might be achieved by the end of today?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: It's very difficult to tell at the moment. They're speaking just behind my back at the presidential palace, the leaders of the main parties - the president of the republican has suggested a government of technocrats, like Monti in Italy. Whether the parties of the centre left and the centre right will support that, or the democratic left, I'm not sure. I really cannot predict it at this moment. It looks less than 50/50, but...

EMMA ALBERICI: What about your party, SYRIZA? Does it support a government of technocrats?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: No, no, we think the issues are political. We think that the people of Greece voted for a big change. The Eurozone, as you know, is in crisis. We have these austerity policies that are leading to recession and they lead to greater austerity measures. That's a dead end for Europe, it's a dead end for Greece and the Greek people are increasingly supporting a different program, different social and economic priorities - which we think are good, not just for Greece, but for working people in Italy and Spain, in Portugal.

EMMA ALBERICI: Look, if we assume that the deadlock can't be broken and Greece will go to the polls again, given you've got only 17 per cent of the vote so far, how do you increase your share of the vote? What is it that you offer to voters as an alternative to austerity?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Well, we offer a different program based on very different social and economic priorities: income redistribution, social welfare. We really have a program the old labour parties and the social democrats used to have, who used to represent labour on a program of jobs, on a program of wages and pensions and social welfare. We'll be going to the European Union should we win the election, or win it as part of a coalition, and really ask for what Germany gained in 1953 when it had a debt problem. It gained a Marshall plan, it gained some cutbacks in the debts, and it also gained - and this is very significant - that countries like Greece and Spain and Italy and Portugal should only pay back their debt, if and only if they have the growth and exports to justify repayment. In other words, our creditors are not our first responsibility. We do not want not to repay all of our debt, but we're only willing to pay that debt should the economic and social conditions allow for it. At the moment the Eurozone is at risk, not because of the Greek radical left - it's at risk because it has an architecture, a financial and economic architecture that is evidently unable to deal with the crisis in the eurozone, and we think part of the solution is a change in that architecture.

EMMA ALBERICI: Let's dissect what you've just said one bit at a time. The Marshall plan that you talk about post-war was all about rebuilding economies devastated by war. It's generally agreed that the problems with the Greek economy are self-inflicted. I mean, the damage in Greece was that you borrowed too much - you'll find it hard, won't you, to convince your neighbours in Europe that profligacy makes one eligible for charity?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Well, as you know, in the 70s and 80s we had a third world debt problem, and eventually the creditors realised when you lend too much, half the problem is with the people who borrowed, and half the problem is with the banks that lend too much. And that's why we had the Brady bonds, and we had an international solution to the debt crisis of the south. So we're saying something very similar. It's all very well saying that it's just the Greek people who have been profligate but there's a crisis in Spain and in Portugal and in Italy, and part of the problem was the banks made an awful lot of money during those periods, and now that they're not making money the rest of society is socialising their losses. Quite frankly, that isn't capitalism, is it? It's not a capitalist solution that every time the banks don't make money and make losses, the rest of society pays for it. Thus we think that to get out of this crisis we have to have a very different banking system that invests in the real economy; we have to have growth, Germany cannot get out of this crisis if it doesn't expand its economy - it's no longer a small open economy, and it can't run its macroeconomic policy as if it doesn't care what's happening in the south. If it continues to do so, as many economists in the Financial Times and the economists in the New York Times have said, the eurozone will collapse, and it will collapse because of bad German economic policies and a bad architecture that cannot deal with the recession.

EMMA ALBERICI: All that aside, would you agree that Greece - if we look at just Greece for the time being - there might need to be some cultural shift in your country that there can't continue to be an attitude that says paying tax is an optional measure; and also this idea that people are entitled to a pension in their 50s, where virtually everywhere else in the world we wait until our 60s?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: You're listening a little bit too much to the creditors' point of view. But that having been said, you're quite right. Nobody in the left in Greece suggests that we should go back to the pre-2008 situation. You're quite right, we need to expand a taxable base. We need to have important reforms in the public sector, we might want to make the public sector more public and not be a field for private interests and private gain. We have a big program which is not a return to the pre-2008 program. We were very critical of the model of development that was based on lending and big projects in the pre-2008 period, so you're actually preaching to the converted. But, on the other hand, we also need a model that has a regulation of the banks, that deals with social inequalities, that deals with regional inequalities - and that is what the Greek left is saying. And we're appealing to progressive forces in Spain and Italy and France that there is no reason why the eurozone should always be the eurozone of Merkel, why it should always be the eurozone of the banks, why it should always be the eurozone that restricts democracy, that doesn't allow peoples to vote on alternative policies - which says more or less you can vote for anything you like as long as you vote for what Merkel and Schauble says is right. That can't be a permanent just equilibrium for Europe.

EMMA ALBERICI: The Germans have a very persuasive view and that is that money talks. The Germans have put something in the order of $600 billion into the stability fund - the financial firewall, so...

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Of which all these loans they are making.

EMMA ALBERICI: They tend to have a view that gives them...

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: They haven't given us...

EMMA ALBERICI: ...that that gives them a bigger say.

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: There's two issues there. The first issue is that Germans have not put any money into Greece which they're not profiting from. Even German newspapers you will read and understand how much profit they've made from loans to all the southern European economies. Not just now in the crisis but before the crisis as well. The second issue is that after every crisis of capitalism - in 1929, in 1974 - we never returned to the status quo. All these arguments that we're hearing - that we must go out of this crisis by reducing wages, reducing the public sector - we heard in the 1930s, and no economy in the 1930s got out of a recession or reduced its debt-to-GDP ratio through austerity. It was true then, it's true now, and unless there's going to be a settlement that will have to be imposed on Schauble and on Merkel, and by what I see in German election results they're losing ground, and people are discussing euro bonds, they're discussing a different European Central Bank, they're discussing a very different macroeconomic strategy; the discussions, the debate has opened. I will just tell you what very many leader articles and opinion makers have been saying in the main financial papers: the eurozone will either change in a more progressive direction, or it will collapse - and it will not collapse because the Greek left got 17 per cent of the vote, it will collapse because it didn't understand what the economics of monetary union are and that you cannot reduce your debt through recession.

EMMA ALBERICI: Mr Tsakalotos, they're tough words you speak, but the fact remains that the IMF, the European Commission and the European Central Bank have sent you a very clear message - you being Greek society. The $170 billion bailout money is not negotiable: it comes with conditions and conditions of severe austerity?

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Well, because I'm a professor of economics and I've studied economic history, negotiating positions can change when the balance of forces change. Obviously, I wouldn't expect Merkel and Schauble to say anything else before negotiations, but if the peoples of the south change the balance of forces, difference social forces come to the fore - as they did in the 50s and 60s. In the 50s and 60s, after the recession of the 30s, no economist who had been saying these things about the necessity of austerity was in power. They had all been marginalised because people came back after the war and said and, "We will not return to the devil's decade of recession, unemployment, hunger marches; we can do something better". And we're in this situation again. We can do something better.

And if Merkel and Sarkozy and the others don't understand that, I think they will have to understand it when the balance of forces changes.

EMMA ALBERICI: I think it's Hollande now you will be dealing with, not Mr Sarkozy. But at what point do you countenance a Greek exit from the Eurozone?

Syriza nu propune un Greek exit

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Well, we're not actually proposing a Greek exit. We're proposing different kind of proposals for economy and society which are good for Greek people and for the peoples of Europe. We have no intention of leaving by our own accord monetary union, and as very many economists have been saying, the eurozone cannot withstand a Greek withdrawal. It's rather like adultery. Once you've done it once, the temptation to do it again is greatly increased. If they throw Greece out, investors will know that Portugal or Spain or Italy will be the next, and the eurozone - this is in professor Krugman's blog of this week - once Greece go, the probability of another country goes is very, very strong, and that's what gives us bargaining power against what the Germans are saying and against what the IMF is saying.

EMMA ALBERICI: Mr Tsakalotos, we have to leave it there, thank you very much for your time this evening.

EUCLID TSAKALOTOS: Thanks very much, it's been a pleasure.



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