Monday

28th May 2018

Interview

Varoufakis group may seek MEP posts in 2019

  • Varoufakis (l) with Dijsselbloem during the former's time as Greek finance minister (Photo: Consillium)

Former Greek finance minister and founder of the Diem25 political movement has derided the EU parliament, but may seek to return MEPs in 2019.

The Diem25 pan-European political movement may seek to enter the European Parliament as part of a broader effort to overhaul what it calls the deep establishment.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister and one of Diem 25's founders, has said it will decide in October whether to contest the EU elections in 2019.

"The European Parliament election might be a focal point for us even though we believe that Europe does not have a parliament," he told EUobserver in an interview on Saturday (9 September) in Brussels.

Speaking ahead of Diem25 meeting on the launch of its vision for a new federal Europe, Varoufakis derided the EU assembly.

"It is the only parliament in human history that cannot initiate legislation," he said, adding that he had no intention of himself trying to become an MEP in 2019.

"We believe in reluctant politicians. If they [Diem25 candidates] choose to hold office, they do so as a chore, as something they don't want to do, but something that is a dirty job and somebody has to do it," he said.

Varoufakis said Diem25 was a pro-European but radical group that aimed to imperil the jobs of the EU establishment in Brussels and elsewhere.

"The only thing that those in power fear is a movement threatening their jobs and that is what we intend to do," he said.

Launched some 18 months ago in Berlin, Diem25 seeks, among other things, full transparency of decision-making at the EU level, the dismantling of corporate power in politics, and a more powerful EU parliament.

Some of the ideas behind the movement appear to be gaining traction among mainstream politicians.

Pan-EU MEPs

Last week, French president Emmanuel Macron spoke of creating a list of pan-EU parliamentary candidates following Britain's' exit from the European Union.

British MEPs will be leaving behind 73 seats at EU parliament, which Macron said could be an opportunity to create a pan-European party.

Diem25 had initially proposed the idea in 2016, but to cover all 751 EU parliament posts.

"I am very pleased to hear that Emmanuel Macron is adopting it, only marginally, but nevertheless it is better than nothing. We would like everything to be contested on the basis of a pan European ticket," Varoufakis told this website.

The French president in Athens also announced other big ideas on how to rebuild the European Union.

The pro-business, centrist French leader called for a more integrated eurozone, a common euro-area budget, and more financial solidarity with countries such as Greece, whose economy continues to suffer.

But Varoufakis, who rose to fame in his effort to resist EU-imposed austerity on Greece in 2015, described Macron's eurozone vision as "ill conceived".

"One small step in the right direction is actually a step in the wrong direction," he said.

Eurogroup toxicity

Varoufakis said Macron's vision of an EU "federation-lite" would not work due to "the ineptitude" of the current European "establishment".

He said the way the EU powers imposed austerity on Greece had helped populists and nationalists to gain influence.

Those measures were decided behind closed doors and without accountability by a club of eurozone states' finance ministers called the Eurogroup.

Earlier this month, EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici described the Eurogroup as a "democratic scandal".

The group is presided over by Dutch finance minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, but dominated in practice by his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Varoufakis, who had also clashed with the Eurogroup in early 2015, said Moscovici's remarks raised more questions than answers.

"What right does he [Moscovici] have to make those statements while remaining in the Commission imposing that result from the democratic scandal?" said Varoufakis.

Varoufakis back in push for ECB transparency

The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and German left-wing MEP Fabio De Masi want to know whether the European Central Bank overstepped its powers when putting capital controls on Greek banks in 2015.

Varoufakis resigns ahead of new EU talks

Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis announced the decision to step down on his blog, saying creditors had indicated his presence would make talks harder.

British influence declines in EU parliament

British MEPs, with one or two exceptions, are slipping in influence, whereas the Germans and the Italians have gained, according to a Brussels-based NGO.

EU parliament wary of pan-European lists

MEPs working on the future composition of the post-Brexit European Parliament say there is no legal basis to create a system of pan-EU euro-deputies.

Opinion

The dangers of resurgent nationalism in Greece

Virulent nationalism in Greece has been stirred up in the context of austerity and renewed negotiations with Macedonia. Recent attempts by the government to address the inequalities suffered by LGBT persons have also been met with a reactionary backlash.

Opinion

Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

News in Brief

  1. Italy set to pick eurosceptic finance minister
  2. UK foreign minister fooled by Russian pranksters
  3. Rajoy ally gets 33 years in jail for corruption
  4. Close race as polls open in Irish abortion referendum
  5. Gazprom accepts EU conditions on gas supplies
  6. Facebook tells MEPs: non-users are not profiled
  7. Commission proposes ending France deficit procedure
  8. UK households hit with Brexit income loss

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman requests more lending transparency from European Investment Bank
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  3. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  4. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  5. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  6. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  8. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  12. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May
  2. EU Green Week 2018Green Cities for a Greener Future. Join the Debate in Brussels from 22 to 24 May
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  5. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  6. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  8. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  9. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  10. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  11. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  12. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations