“DiEM25’s European New Deal demands electoral expression” – Rome Press Conference, 24 March 2017

On the eve of launching its European New Deal policy framework in Rome, DiEM25 held a press conference where Yanis Varoufakis issued the following statement prior to a Q&A session with gathered journalists. With this statement DiEM25 announced its determination to bring the European New Deal policy framework to a ballot box in every corner of Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is excellent to be back in Rome, where all roads have led us, from all over Europe, on the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.

Under normal circumstances, tomorrow should be a major celebration of the idea of Europe and the achievements of the EU. Alas, the idea of Europe is in retreat and the EU is at an advanced state of disintegration. Europeans watching on their TV screens their leaders celebrating here in Rome will be asking themselves: What exactly are they celebrating? Europe’s disintegration, which they now call ‘multi-speed’ or ‘variable geometry’ Europe? Their business-as-usual approach, which is fanning the flames of xenophobic nationalism? It is not at all clear what they are in Rome for.

Our reason for being here in Rome – the reason DiEM25 is here – is both clear and pertinent. We are here to answer two questions:

The first question is: “What needs to be done?” Our answer comes in the form of DiEM25’s European New Deal that we shall be launching at the Teatro Italia tomorrow evening: a comprehensive, innovative policy agenda capable of saving Europe and, more importantly, capable of making Europe worth saving. It is DiEM25’s antidote to the TINA (There Is No Alternative) dogma which is paralysing and destroying Europe.

The second question is: “How can it be done?” How is DiEM25 proposing to take its European New Deal agenda to the peoples of Europe and enable them to impose it on an Establishment in permanent denial?

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE?

DiEM25’s European New Deal, in brief

DiEM25’s European New Deal offers a comprehensive economic and social agenda for the whole of Europe, including the Eurozone, EU members not in the Eurozone, and even European countries outside the EU. It demonstrates how the European economic and social crisis, including the euro crisis, could be stabilised immediately, under the institutions already in place, before developing new institutions aimed at: (a) turning idle wealth into green investments, (b) delivering basic goods to every European region (freedom from involuntary unemployment, freedom from involuntary migration, the right to a sustainable environment and community), (c) sharing the returns to capital and wealth, (d) democratising, and thus rationalising, economic policy. Moreover, a plan for managing the ill-effects of a possible EU and Eurozone disintegration are embedded in DiEM25’s European New Deal.

HOW CAN IT BE DONE?

DiEM25’s Open Call to political and civil society across Europe

DiEM25 was founded on the belief that a progressive agenda needs a fresh, transnational, pan-European political movement to realise it… the ‘M’ in DiEM25! Can the European New Deal be made relevant, however splendid it may be as a Policy Paper, without being put to democracy’s greatest trial; i.e. the ballot box? We do not think so. Does this mean that DiEM25 is turning into a political party ready to contest elections in national or European Parliament elections? This is what I’d like to elaborate on this morning.

When DiEM25 was founded, at Berlin’s Volksbühne Theatre in February 2016, we explained that our first task was to put together a Progressive Policy Agenda for Europe as a whole. When asked whether we intended to contest elections our standard answer was: “If our Progressive Policy Agenda is sound, we trust that it will find a way to express itself electorally across Europe.” Well, a little more than a year later, our Progressive Policy Agenda – the European New Deal we are launching tomorrow, here in Rome – is ready. And it demands electoral expression!

Ideally, DiEM25 would not contest elections but, rather, offer existing political parties, movements and organisations the infrastructure necessary to enable them to run with DiEM25’s European New Deal. To this effect, today, here in Rome, we are issuing an Open Call to political parties, municipalities, trades unions, social movements, civil society organisations and citizens from across Europe to join us over the next two months in a joint effort to give a pan-European electoral expression to the European New Deal that DiEM25 is launching tomorrow evening at the Teatro Italia.

Over the next two months we shall deliberate with all parties, organisations and trans-European networks that respond positively to DiEM25’s Open Call, as well as with DiEM25’s membership. Then, on 25th May, exactly eight weeks after tomorrow’s launch here in Rome, we shall meet again, this time in Berlin, at the Volksbühne Theatre again, to announce the electoral expression that our European New Deal policy agenda will take. In countries where our political partners share our commitment to promote and realise the European New Deal, we shall support them. Elsewhere, if DiEM25 members decide in a democratic and transparent process involving the entire movement’s community that they wish to organise themselves to put forward the European New Deal in an electoral contest, we shall support them too.

DiEM25 is not about winning power. DiEM25 is about empowering Europe’s peoples to re-claim control over our cities, countries, dignity, hope, lives and future. But to reclaim these we first need to reclaim common purpose among sovereign European peoples. For this, we need an internationalist, common, transnational European economic and social agenda. We need an antidote to the EU’s TINA paralysing doctrine. We need a European New Deal offering realistic policies that can be implemented as soon as tomorrow morning. And we need to take this European New Deal to the ballot box in every corner of Europe.

Thank you

Yanis Varoufakis, DiEM25 Co-founder