Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020
Dalkey Literary Awards - 20th June 2020

Yanis on Brexit and getting the cold shoulder

Yanis and David are discussing youth unemployment now. “There’s money everywhere and yet there’s no political leadership.” David McWilliams is getting Yanis to discuss what he would ideally do.

“Who is the next Greece?”, he asks.

“Greece,” answers Yanis.

Apparently David and Yanis have just got back from Norway where they were having fireside chats “without any fire.”

Yanis is going on to describe advisors and other finance ministers (who remain nameless). Then he talks about his first meeting with Wolfgang Schauble, where Yanis extended his hand and Schauble refused to shake it.


Yanis goes on to say that Schauble was at least straight with him, unlike many of other advisors he met during his time as Greece’s finance minister. “If he says he’s going to smash you, he’s going to smash you.”

“Are you saying that the project (of the EU) is about the Germans proving to the French that they are still powerful?” David puts to Yanis.

“I’m not asking for anything that is not in the interest of the German people,” Yanis goes on.

He draws the connection between Ireland and Greece. “If we’d got a deal you could’ve got a new deal.”

David brings up the idea that civil servants are responsible for the failure of the eurozone.

“I don’t blame civil servants, I blame politicians who don’t have the backbone or the analytical skills to carry out their mandate,” Yanis says.

He and his ministry were forced to look at 1,100 pages at 9pm before voting on a Greek bailout package. “And you know the worst thing? It was translated from English to Greek by Google Translate.”

Finally we’ve hit on Brexit, oi vey. Yanis has been campaigning for an In vote, but nonetheless thinks the In campaign has employed tactics that can only be described as “scaremongering on steroids.”

It’s closing arguments time, David wants to know if Yanis is hopeful for a better EU.

“My faculties, as they must, remain pessimistic; my will, my heart, are optimistic,” he replies.