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Tuesday 3rd
posted by Morning Star in World

GREEK Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis announced yesterday the retention of capitalist asset management firm Lazard as adviser to his ministry on public debt and fiscal management.

Lazard advised on Spanish lender Bankia’s initial public offering in 2011, just a year before it needed a €22.5 billion (£17bn) state rescue.

The advisory giant has also been appointed by Britain’s Con-Dem coalition as adviser on the majority of it privatisations, including the Royal Mail sell-off, in which shares were priced so cheaply that taxpayers lost billions.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is beginning efforts to have half of Greece’s debt, largely European bailouts, written off amid capitalist fears of a default.

“We are in substantial negotiations with our partners in Europe and those who have lent to us. We have obligations towards them,” he told a news conference when asked whether Greece was open to Russian aid.

“Right now, there are no other thoughts on the table.”

Mr Varoufakis has continued a tour of Europe with a visit to London after receiving backing from France for efforts to ease the terms of Greece’s bailout.

Paris presented itself on Sunday as a possible link with Greece’s creditors.

French Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted he would not support cancelling the debt, but offered backing for new terms.

While in France, Mr Varoufakis publicly reversed his previous stance of not talking to Germany, saying that he would visit Berlin and Frankfurt as well.

Italy has sent mixed signals over whether it would back Greece.

Social democratic Prime Minister Matteo Renzi reiterated that Europe must abandon austerity and called for “prudence and responsibility” in the handling of the Greek situation.

“I believe it is crucial to send a clear message. We want to move the discussion on economic policy from austerity and rigour towards growth and investment,” Mr Renzi said.

“We have to change economic policy at the European level, not just for Greece or any other country.”

But, according to Italian media, Mr Renzi promised German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday that he would not be forging a “Club Med” alliance with Greece and Spain.