• Greek Official On Europe’s Bailout Terms: ‘I Prefer To Cut My Arm Off’

    Greek finance minister and freewheeling playboy Yanis Varoufakis would rather chop off his own arm than sign an agreement subjecting Greece to the terms of yet another bailout from the Eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

    “I prefer to cut my arm off,” he told Bloomberg TV Thursday, when asked if he would agree to the current terms.

    Greece needs what would be its third bailout in five years, after defaulting on a $1.73 billion IMF payment Tuesday and facing $32.52 billion in debt payments over the next two years. But its newly-elected government is refusing to agree to the hard terms of yet another bailout, saying they’re unnecessarily hard and meant to humiliate Greece.

    Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is holding a referendum Sunday in hopes a popular rejection of the bailout terms, which include pension cuts and sales-tax increases, would cause its lenders to back down rather than risk a Greece exit from the Eurozone.

    Varoufakis said he will step down as finance minister if the Greek people vote to agree to the terms of the bailout rather than risk default and a Eurozone exit. “We may have to reconfigure the government because some of us will not be able to stomach it,” he told Bloomberg TV. “I will not sign another extend and pretend deal.”

    This government was elected this year on the tricky platform of fighting Greece’s hard lending terms, but remaining within the Eurozone. Recent polls show the country is split on the referendum, as bank closures and long lines at supermarkets reinforce anxieties about default.

    “If there’s a yes vote then we will sign the agreement,” Varoufakis added.

    Germany is refusing to continue negotiations until after the referendum takes place Sunday.

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