Stress Test, the book by former US treasury secretary Tim Geithner released in May, gave us some insight into the turbulent goings-on that occurred at the height of the Eurozone crisis. But early transcripts obtained by the FT contain a much greater level of detail which are sure to leave European leaders feeling embarrassed.
Particularly controversial is his view on the way Germany, France and other big countries treated Greece for failing to keep its debt under control:
1. ‘The Europeans came into that meeting basically saying: "We’re going to teach the Greeks a lesson. They are really terrible. They lied to us. They suck and they were profligate and took advantage of the whole basic thing and we’re going to crush them," was their basic attitude, all of them…’
2. ‘It was embarrassing to them because the Greeks had ended up like borrowing all this money and they were mad and angry and hey were like: "Definitely get out the bats."
'They just wanted to take a bat to them. But in taking a bat to them, they were feeding a fire that was in its early stages. There were a lot of dry tinders.’
He also described how EU leaders attempted to force out Silvio Berlusconi as Prime Minister of Italy, after German actions which bought a little bit of calm for the markets were met by Mr Bunga-Bunga aparently reneging on promises.
3. ‘So they were just paranoid that every act of generosity was met by sort of a "fuck you" from the… political establishment of those weaker countries in Europe, and so the Germans were just apoplectic.’
4. ‘The Europeans actually approach us softly, indirectly before the thing saying: "We basically want you to join us in forcing Berlusconi out." They wanted us to basically say that we wouldn’t support IMF money or any further escalation for Italy if they needed it if Berlusconi was prime minister.’
He also had some less than kind words to say about Ireland’s decision to guarantee all of its banks in 2008.
5. ‘Ireland, most people view in retrospect, was stupid to guarantee all their banks. They couldn’t afford it. They were eight times the size of their economy.’
The revelations have not gone down well in Greece, and as the prospect of an election there looms and the radical anti-austerity left party Syriza tops the polls, it looks like the Eurozone crisis could be far from over.