His approach to substance came with an unusual negotiating style – one that attracted quite a bit of attention but understandably proved unpalatable to his European partners.
Having spent the bulk of his career in academia, Varoufakis erred toward open public discussion and discourse. Diplomatic niceties were set aside in favor of candid debates. Flowery introductions gave way to laser-like focus on areas of disagreements.
Having also been part of a government that was elected on the promise to restoring Greece’s dignity, he had no hesitation about speaking to other European finance ministers as an equal. And because his meetings were closely covered by the media — in particular those with his German counterparts — the world was often treated to a level of drama that hardly ever emerges from European negotiations: accusations and counter-accusations, rebukes and unusual physical postures.
Varoufakis is impatient, and understandably so. Having observed the suffering of his people for so many years because of what he believes were unguided policies, he was ready to shake things up. Yet in his keenness to deliver a big bang solution, he neglected the small confidence-building steps that were required.