Greek Finance Minister Attacked By Anarchists, Shielded By Wife

When it comes to the Eurogroup's sentiment for the still relatively new Greek FinMin, it is no secret how Europe's financiers feel toward the self-described Marxist academic: earlier today European commissioner Pierre Moscovici made it quite clear when he said that the Varoufakis "job change" is a "good signal" for Greece adding that the Greek negotiating team is now more coherent. And sadly for Varoufakis, who is becoming increasingly estranged from European negotiations, there is nobody to "have his back" as even Tsipras appears resigned that Yanis' days are numbered.

However, when it comes to far more personal and direct attacks, Varoufakis can at least rely on his wife. As AP reports, last night while dining with his wife in the bohemian Exarchia district of Athens, "a neighborhood popular with extreme leftists and anarchists" a group of "young anarchists" barged into the restaurant telling them to leave "their area" at which point they "threw glass objects at Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his wife" according to a finance ministry statement.

According to Reuters, Varoufakis said his wife hugged him to shield him from the attack, the finance ministry said. They tried "for a few seconds to reach me without hitting her," he said in the ministry statement.

Then "they retreated fast continuing their curses and threats, got out of the courtyard and waited for us outside the restaurant," Varoufakis added.

The statement did not go into details on what prompted the attack. The outspoken economist has won fans in Greece for opposing austerity policies but has also garnered criticism at home for his brash style and a celebrity photo shoot in a French magazine.

The minister said he thought the group was more interested in embarrassing him than injuring him.

The couple left the courtyard and got on their motorcycle to leave.

"I started a dialogue with them, saying that I wanted to hear them out, even if that meant that I would be hit," said Varoufakis. "After 15 minutes of a tense but non-violent talk spirits calmed."

And while Varoufakis' blazing game theoretical star may be setting, if only among his European finance minister peers, this morning he was the talk of the town. As the Guardian's Helena Smith reports, "if Varoufakis has been sidelined, he has definitely not lost the interest of media at home and abroad. Waiting for him as he turned up for work on his powerful motorbike - without a security detail as he has done from his first day in office - the finance minister was assailed by scores of journalists wanting to ask him about his run-in in Athens last night.

Rucksack on back, Varoufakis smiled broadly for the cameras but was uncharacteristically mealy-mouthed - perhaps not wanting to further inflame passions amongst the anarchist bloc and extreme left with which the governing Syriza party has long had ties.

 

Varoufakis may be Europe’s most vocal anti-austerian but to this day has not signed up to Syriza unlike the new man coordinating Athens’ negotiating team Euclid Tsakalotos, who was shadow finance minister when Syriza was in opposition and is a member of the party’s central committee (both however are university economic professors).

 

Last night’s incident in Exharcheia - with Varoufakis, his wife and a female friend being rounded on by a group of around 30 masked protestors - has sent tremors through the government with some officials fearing it could be a warning sign of worse to come.

If only Varoufakis' wife could have also shielded him from the vicious, if non-stoning, attacks of the European commission...

As for the attack being a "warning sign of worse to come", well all the "radical leftist" government will need to do to find out, is agree to become an extension of the hated Samaras government, and concede to all Troika demands. Then the answer will promptly manifest itself.