Ioannis Georgiou “Yanis” Varoufakis (Greek: Ιωάννης Γεωργίου “Γιάνης” Βαρουφάκης, romanized: Ioánnis Georgíou “Giánis” Varoufákis, pronounced [ˈʝanis varuˈfakis]; born 24 March 1961) is a Greek economist, academic, philosopher and politician. He has been Secretary-General of MeRA25, a left-wing political party, since he founded it in 2018. A former member of Syriza, he served as Minister of Finance from January to July 2015 under Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. Varoufakis was a member of the Hellenic Parliament for Athens B from January to September 2015; he regained a parliamentary seat in July 2019.
Varoufakis was born in Athens in 1961 and attended Moraitis School before moving to the United Kingdom, where he studied mathematics at the University of Essex before attaining a postgraduate degree in mathematical statistics at University of Birmingham and a PhD in economics at Essex. He began a career in academic economics, teaching at the universities of Essex, East Anglia and Cambridge between 1982 and 1988. Following Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory in 1987, Varoufakis left the UK and moved to Australia, where he taught at the University of Sydney until 2000. After eventually acquiring Australian citizenship, he returned to Greece that year to teach at the University of Athens, where he led a doctoral program and was promoted to full professor in 2005. Following this, Varoufakis had periods of advising George Papandreou and working as the economist-in-residence for Valve Corporation before moving to the United States to teach at the University of Texas at Austin. Varoufakis has published a number of texts on economics and game theory, such as The Global Minotaur.
In January 2015, Varoufakis was appointed Greek Minister of Finance. He led negotiations with Greece’s creditors during the government-debt crisis. However, he failed to reach an agreement with the European troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund) leading to the 2015 bailout referendum. The referendum rejected the troika bailout terms, and the day afterwards Varoufakis resigned as Minister of Finance, being replaced by Euclid Tsakalotos. On 24 August, Varoufakis voted against the third bailout package; in the ensuing September snap election, he did not stand for reelection. Varoufakis has since appeared in numerous debates, lectures and interviews. In February 2016, he launched the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) and subsequently backed a Remain vote in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. In March 2018, he founded MeRA25, the “electoral wing” of DiEM25 in Greece. In the 2019 legislative election, MeRA25 was the sixth most voted-for party, amassing nine parliamentary seats, with Varoufakis himself returning to the Hellenic Parliament.
In December 2018, Varoufakis launched the Progressive International with United States Senator Bernie Sanders.