Keyword: Jeroen Dijsselbloem

'We underestimated their power': Greek government insider lifts the lid on five months of 'humiliation' and 'blackmail'

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Le Néerlandais Jeroen Dijsselbloem (de dos) et le Grec Yanis Varoufakis, en février à Athènes. © Reuters. Le Néerlandais Jeroen Dijsselbloem (de dos) et le Grec Yanis Varoufakis, en février à Athènes. © Reuters.

In this interview with Mediapart, a senior advisor to the Greek government, who has been at the heart of the past five months of negotiations between Athens and its international creditors, reveals the details of what resembles a game of liar’s dice over the fate of a nation that has been brought to its economic and social knees. His account gives a rare and disturbing insight into the process which has led up to this week’s make-or-break deadline for reaching a bailout deal between Greece and international lenders, without which the country faces crashing out of the euro and complete bankruptcy. He describes the extraordinary bullying of Greece’s radical-left government by the creditors, including Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s direct threat to cause the collapse of the Hellenic banks if it failed to sign-up to a drastic austerity programme. “We went into a war thinking we had the same weapons as them”, he says. “We underestimated their power”.