Greece's finance minister in 2012: "Greece is in a coma"

Before Yanis Varoufakis became Greece's new finance minister, he told 60 Minutes that European lenders' austerity measures were stifling Greece

When 60 Minutes spoke with Yanis Varoufakis in 2012, the economist described Greece's austerity measures imposed by its European lenders as stifling. Now, three years later, as the newly appointed finance minister, Varoufakis is getting an opportunity to change all that.

The announcement was made yesterday by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who has ordered his new cabinet to reduce the country's debt and scale back belt-tightening policies put in place as a result of the bailout.

Those orders are on par with the opinions Vardoulakis voiced to Steve Kroft in 2012. During the interview, he said not only were austerity measures making the situation in Greece worse, but also were stifling economies all over Europe.

"Greece is in its Great Depression," he said. "Greece is in a coma and it is getting deeper into that coma as one company, one firm, one shop shuts after the next."

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Yanis Varoufakis and Steve Kroft
CBS News