Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clinton's Comedy Turn

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Sarkozy's Populist Pivot, Bahamas Leaks, Syria Truce, Rome Olympic Bid (Part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

US Police Shootings: Race relations and the race to the White House (Part 1)

Read more

#TECH 24

Breaking the wall between technology and people

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Rural France: Challenges and opportunities

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: In Burma, ex-political prisoners struggle to return to normal life

Read more

ENCORE!

Xavier Dolan: Wunderkind of Québecquois cinema

Read more

FOCUS

The battle for UK Labour’s leadership

Read more

france 24 Europe

In Berlin, Varoufakis launches movement to democratise Europe

© Greek former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis launches the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM) at the Volksbuehne Theater, in Berlin, on February 9, 2016.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-02-09

Greece’s former “rock-star” finance minister was back in the limelight on Tuesday as he launched a pan-European political movement aimed at saving the EU from “disintegration”.

Yanis Varoufakis, whose tussles with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble last year embodied Greece’s bid to break free from punishing austerity, chose the Volksbuehne Theatre in Berlin to launch The Democracy in Europe Movement 2015 (DiEM25).

Its aim, he said, is to push for greater democracy and transparency in the European Union, which he described as a “completely democracy-free zone”.

Is Greek humbling killing European dream?

The former finance minister savaged EU leaders for their “spectacular failure” to deal with the continent’s refugee crisis, “with the possible exception of [Germany’s] Angela Merkel”, his erstwhile adversary during the Greek debt crisis.

Varoufakis, who famously accused Greece’s creditors of submitting the country to “fiscal waterboarding”, has said that his experience of Eurozone finance meetings left him with the conclusion that the EU was fundamentally undemocratic.

Instead of pointing an accusatory finger at Germany, on Tuesday he said the European power had a central and positive role to play.

“We’ve chosen Berlin precisely because nothing can change in a progressive direction without the full participation of Germany in our European endeavours,” Varoufakis told a news conference in the packed theatre auditorium.

Forum or party?

Varoufakis quit as finance minister last July after refusing to accept the terms of a third bailout for Greece that imposed further austerity measures.

Drawing parallels between the Europe of the 1930s and the present day, Varoufakis told reporters the continent was stuck in a vicious circle of bad policy and ruled by “authoritarian technocrats”.

He called for more European integration, but also demanded sovereignty for each nation state. Varoufakis declined to provide any policy proposals and made clear his new movement would mainly be a forum for sharing ideas.

He did not say whether he hoped to turn it into a party and contest elections.

 

Date created : 2016-02-09

  • GREECE

    Varoufakis will not participate in ‘sad’ Greek elections

    Read more

  • GREECE

    European hard-left looks to Varoufakis amid Greek turmoil

    Read more

  • GREECE

    Greek Finance Minister Varoufakis announces his resignation

    Read more

COMMENT(S)