Yanis Varoufakis will advise Labour, Jeremy Corbyn confirms

The Greek economist has backed Britain remaining in the EU - to confront Brussels' institutions

Jon Stone
Monday 29 February 2016 16:27
Yanis Varoufakis is a former Greek finance minister
Yanis Varoufakis is a former Greek finance minister

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is to advise the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn has confirmed.

Mr Varoufakis led Greece’s negotiating team with its creditors in the early days of the leftist Syriza government.

The motorcycle-riding economist, who stepped down from his chief negotiator post in dramatic fashion – now spends his time campaigning for democratic reform of the European Union.

“Varoufakis is interesting because he has obviously been through all the negotiations [with Greece’s creditors,” Mr Corbyn told his local newspaper the Islington Tribune.

“I think the way Greece has been treated is terrible and we should reach out to them.

“I realise we're not in the eurozone, but it's a question of understanding how we challenge the notion that you can cut your way to prosperity when, in reality, you have to grow your way to prosperity.

“So all our emphasis and work and campaigning is about an expanding economy and investing in an expanding economy.”

He added that Mr Varoufakis would advise Labour “in some capacity”.

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis leaves the finance ministry for good with his wife Danae Stratou

In an article posted on Friday, Mr Varoufakis said Greece’s problems were not a compelling reason for Britain to leave the European Union.

He said that though Greece’s treatment was evidence that the EU was “governed in an authoritarian, irrational and anti-democratic manner” but that Britain should “vote to stay in the EU in order to confront the EU institutions from within”.

Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis attacked by protesters in Athens restaurant

The Greek economist, who has previously taught economics at the universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, and Essex, was notable by his absence from Labour’s council of economic advisors announced last year.

That economic advisory panel, drawn up by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, included other key names such as Joseph Stiglitz, Mariana Mazzucato, and Thomas Pikketty.

Mr Varoufakis has previously described himself as an “erratic Marxist” and has also advised the videogames developer Valve on economics.

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