Who ordered the entry ban on the former Greek minister? The authorities are causing confusion. The left and Amnesty demand clarifications.

Yanis Varoufakis delivers a speech.

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: Mick Tsikas/imago

SEDAN taz | The entry ban against former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was limited to the period from April 10 to 14, 2024, the period of the “Palestinian Congress” in Berlin, which was canceled by the police. If Varoufakis, current secretary general of the European movement Democracy in Europe 2025 (Diem25), of which he is a co-founder, had traveled to Germany for this purpose, he would probably have been rejected at the border. This emerges from an email exchange between the Greek politician's lawyer and the German Federal Police. Frankfurter Rundschau (FR) reported today.

It is still unclear who exactly imposed the entry ban and why. As the taz reported on Saturday afternoon, the police had verbally informed his lawyers in Berlin on Saturday that an activity and entry ban had been imposed on Varoufakis.

The BMI did not want to confirm it to the Taz and referred it to the Senate Interior Administration in Berlin. The taz referred this to the federal police. Handelsblatt and AFP reported on Monday that this should not be an activity ban, which would not be legally possible against EU citizens, but rather an entry ban. This can also be imposed on EU citizens.

On Monday, federal police denied to Varoufakis' lawyers that there was an entry ban against him. A day later he corrected himself and wrote that they had prohibited entry. The federal police wrote to taz on Wednesday: “The federal police do not impose any ban on activity or entry and residence.” The Berlin immigration authority is responsible. The State Immigration Office told Taz on Thursday that it “does not provide any information on decisions in individual cases.” Complete confusion.

Varoufakis accuses of “lying.”

The entry ban continues to cause a stir in Greece. Varoufakis accuses the federal government of “lies” and fascist methods. Mera25, the German branch of Varoufakis' DIEM 24 party, sees “a worrying trend towards a lack of state transparency and authoritarian practices in Germany.” It is also said that Varoufakis was not informed in advance about the entry ban, as would be legally standard. .

The activity and entry of two other guests to the “Palestinian Congress” that was prevented by the police were also prohibited: the historian Salman Abu Sitta, 86, and the doctor and rector of the University of Glasgow, Ghassan Abu-Sittah. Ghassan Abu-Sittah was denied entry to Berlin airport on Friday. Due to the ban on activities against Abu Sitta, the “Palestinian Congress” was canceled on Friday when it was connected by video.

The congress was criticized because some participants, including Yanis Varoufakis, did not clearly condemn the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. He condemns “every attack against civilians” and “every atrocity,” Varoufakis said in the online speech he wanted to give in Berlin. What it does not condemn, however, is “armed resistance against a system of apartheid.” Salman Abu Sitta, 87, for his part, wrote in a blog in January that if he were younger, he could have been one of those who broke the blockade of the Gaza Strip on October 7. German authorities accuse him of “hate speech against Israel and Jews.”

There is a risk of legal repercussions.

Varoufakis threatened to examine his legal options to take action against the entry ban. The organizers of the dissolved “Palestinian Congress” also want to take legal action against the responsible authorities and the massive police operation against the congress. A congressional lawyer said there had been “good” cooperation with authorities beforehand. The police actions took them by surprise.

The Left Party criticized the actions of the authorities. Former party leader Bernd Riexinger on Both are “a serious violation of democratic principles and freedom of expression,” Riexinger said.

Amnesty Germany calls for an independent investigation into police actions against the “Palestinian Congress” in Berlin. Freedom of expression and assembly applies “to all people, even if they criticize the policies of the German and Israeli governments.” The border is “marked by criminal acts and not by politically unpleasant statements.”

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