Germany is experiencing a paradoxical crisis. Germany is, on paper, flooded by… money. The federal government is in surplus. A tsunami of foreign money is flooding German banks. Families are saving. And even corporations hoard huge amounts of savings. So, why is the political centre not holding? Why are the major parties bleeding? Why is discontent, xenophobia and precariousness on a triumphant march?
The answer is: Germany’s habitat, Europe, is in a deepening systemic crisis. The inhuman austerity policies first tried and tested in Greece were, soon after, extended to the rest of Europe, Germany as well. The result is low levels of investment in people and green technologies across Europe. A wall of money is boosting inequality, share prices, house prices here in Berlin. But none of it is being put to good use in support of people or the environment.
This is why we live in a disintegrating Europe, a depressed Greece, an Italy taken over by racist populists, and a divided German society: Half of the population Germany is finding harder and harder to make ends meet. We should not be surprised. As Hegel might have said: No European people can be prosperous and free when other European countries are condemned to the permanent depression that eternal austerity creates.
The pre-condition for releasing millions of Germans from a precarious existence in the midst of tremendous wealth is the ditching of the false belief that North Europe is clashing with Southern Europe. That Western Europe is clashing with Eastern Europe. No, the real battle is happening in each and every one of our countries. It is a battle between progressives and authoritarians. We are clashing against both the authoritarian, austerian establishment and the authoritarian, racist Right.
Demokratie in Europa seeks, and deserves, the vote of the German people for two reasons:
First, we are the only party that has put forward a solid, comprehensive proposal of how to address systematically Europe’s systemic crisis. We call it a Green New Deal for Europe: a realistic, credible, rational and immediately implementable policy agenda for the whole of Europe. One that is not calling Germany to pay for the rest of Europe but empowers every European society to play an active role in producing shared, green European prosperity.
How can that be achieved? Who will pay? Read our policy agenda on europeanspring.net for the full details. In short, here is an example of how our Green New Deal will be funded without asking the German taxpayer to foot the bill but by, instead, putting existing private liquidity in good use: The European Investment Bank issues every year additional bonds worth 5% of Eurozone GDP, 500 billion euros – for a minimum of five years – while the European Central Bank declares that it will step into the second hand market for bonds to buy as many as necessary to ensure that their interest rates stay ultra-low. In this way, the idle cash in our financial system – that today are keeping interest rates negative, damaging German families’ pension funds – are put into good, green, productive use.
Second, we are the only genuinely transnational party that proves not just that another Europe is possible but that another, hopeful Europe is already here.
The Assembly of Democratie in Europa today honoured me by electing me to lead the list of European Parliament candidates of the party.
It is an honour that I accept humbly.
I accept it because my candidacy symbolises the end of the North-South divide.
I accept it because it epitomises the new transnational politics that is uniquely capable of saving European democracy, German democracy, indeed Greek, Italian, French democracy.
In the months to follow I shall be campaigning in Germany as a Demokratie in Europa candidate, in Greece as Secretary of MeRA25, in the rest of Europe for our EUROPEAN SPRING.
I call you all to join us in this paneuropean quest for Democracy in Europe as a condition for shared prosperity and authentic democracy here in Germany and everywhere in Europe.