Greece’s outspoken finance minister resigned yesterday, removing one major obstacle to any deal to keep Athens in the euro zone after Greeks voted resoundingly to back the government in rejecting the austerity terms of a bailout.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras promised German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Greece would bring a proposal for a cash-for-reforms deal to an emergency summit of euro zone leaders today, a Greek official said.
It was unclear how much it would differ from other proposals rejected in the past.
Gloomy officials in Brussels and Berlin said a Greek exit from the currency area now looked ever more likely.
But they also said talks to avert it would be easier without Yanis Varoufakis, an avowed “erratic Marxist” economist who infuriated his fellow euro zone finance ministers with an informal style and hectoring lectures.
He had campaigned for Sunday’s “No” vote, accusing Greece’s creditors of “terrorism”.
“I was made aware of a certain ‘preference’ by some Eurogroup participants, and assorted ‘partners’, for my . . . ‘absence’ from its meetings; an idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement,” Varoufakis said in a statement.
His sacrifice suggested Tsipras is determined to try to reach a last-ditch compromise with European leaders.
Greece’s political leaders, more accustomed to screaming abuse at each other in parliament, spent the day locked in talks at the president’s office trying to produce an unprecedented national unity statement.
Greece’s chief negotiator in aid talks with international creditors, Euclid Tsakalotos, a soft-spoken academic economist, was the frontrunner to become finance minister, Varoufakis said. — Reuters.