Saturday, July 4, 2015
Caught in the Hellenic Labyrinth
It was 5:13 pm when Yanis Varoufakis grabbed his backpack, got up from his chair, and walked with a brisk pace out of the conference room. The Greek finance minister had just been thrown out of the meeting by the remaining and perplexed 18 finance ministers of the countries that make up the euro currency bloc.
Last Saturday in Brussels was another defining moment in the European Union’s history. The euro finance ministers were miffed because Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had just called a national referendum on the aid package they were negotiating — without telling them in advance he was doing so.
After its surprise announcement, that referendum is now being billed as the big finale to a long-running Greek tragedy. On Sunday, the Greek people will decide once and for all whether their country remains in the 15-year-old currency bloc.