Dijsselbloem: Greece referendum result "extremely regrettable"
More than 61 percent of Greek voters voted "no" to the European lenders' proposals in the referendum on Sunday. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Dutch Minister of Finance and current Eurogroup president, called the result "extremely regrettable". "I take note of the outcome of the Greek referendum. This result is very regrettable for the future of Greece", Dijsselbloem said in a press release on Sunday. "For recovery of the Greek economy, difficult measures and reforms are inevitable. We will now wait for the initiatives of the Greek authorities." The Eurogroup will discuss the state of affairs on Tuesday. According to Sigmar Gabriel, German minister of Economic Affairs, it is almost unthinkable to discuss a new aid program for Greece now that the country has so completely voted against further reforms, AD reports. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said that he is willing to talk about new reforms. "We are now going to the table to get the banking system back on its feet. With that we are willing to talk about new reforms", the Greek Prime Minister said. On Monday morning Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced his resignation from the Ministry of Finance. He states that he was made aware of "a certain preference by some Eurogroup participants" that he be absent from future meetings on the Greek debt problems. "An idea that the Prime Minister judged to be potentially helpful to him in reaching an agreement. For this reason I am leaving the Ministry of Finance today", Varoufakis writes on his website. "I consider it my duty to help Alexis Tsiipras exploit, as he sees fit, the capital that the Greek people granted us through yesterday's referendum. And I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride." On Sunday Dijsselbloem wrote a highly critical letter on Greece to the PvdA Members in which he explains what he thinks went wrong in the Greek economy, NOS reports. Dijsselbloem believes that Greece should never have joined the euro. The country's government deficit was below the maximum allowed 3 percent for exactly a year, the year that Greece joined the euro. According to the Finance Minister, this happened because of unreliable statistics. In 2009 the Greek government admitted that the deficit was actually more than 15 percent when they entered the euro. According to Dijsselbloem, the fact that Athens anyway joined the euro, led to "an immense soap bubble". The country lived on credit and the government spending and debt increased enormously. Dijsselbloem believes that this is not because of the aid program. "Without the European support program, the collapse of the economy would have been much faster and would have gone further." Dijsselbloem resents the Tsipras government for not being prepared to implement much needed Fundamental reforms, such as tackling the bad tax morale, corruption and nepotism. According to him, the Syriza, Tsipras' radically left wing coalition, policy has led to people withdrawing their money from the banks and has driven away investors. The Eurogroup President does not think that the Greek debt is unsustainable. The debt does exceed 170 percent of the gross domestic product, but the fact that the duration of the loans are more than 30 years and the interest rate is very low at 1 to 1.5 percent, makes the actual cost of the Greek debt "very low".