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Greek government denies finance minister Varoufakis to resign

Yianis Varoufakis

By Deepa Babington

Greece’s outspoken Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is not planning to resign, two Greek government officials said on Friday, denying a report in Germany’s Bild newspaper.

“None of this is true, it’s far from reality,” one of the officials told Reuters.

Bild’s online version on Friday cited a Greek government source as saying it was only a matter of time before Varoufakis resigned, adding that such a decision had already been made.

A prominent figure in the Greek government who made a habit of being interviewed frequently and making a media splash with sharp-tongued attacks against austerity, Varoufakis has kept a markedly lower profile in recent days.

After a celebrity photo shoot with his wife for Paris Match magazine angered officials from the ruling Syriza party, Varoufakis has appeared on fewer television shows and reduced the number of interviews he gives.

He also cancelled an appearance at a London conference last week and was notably absent when Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras travelled to Brussels and then Berlin for crucial talks on Greece’s efforts to secure financial aid to keep afloat.

The 53-year-old academic economist had never held a political position until Tsipras tapped him to become finance minister in January. His unabashed criticism of a hated bailout programme and his casual, untucked shirt and tie-less style has since given him rock star status in Greece.

But he has also alienated many of his euro zone peers and has been involved in a public war of words with his powerful German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, raising concerns about whether he was hampering rather than helping talks to secure aid.

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