Yanis Varoufakis, the Spitzenkandidat for the EUROPEAN SPRING, set up by DiEM25, told EURACTIV Germany that: “If the European Left were united, coherent and civilised, we wouldn’t have created Diem25, we’d have joined them. Now we are running against them, which is very painful to us,” the former Greek finance minister told EURACTIV Germany in an interview.
In the interview, Varoufakis lashed out against leftist parties in Europe, saying that their lack of unity cannot bring tangible electoral results and, therefore, changes in the continent.
“There is no real European Left anymore. There are people like Gregor Gysi [President of the European Left], then there’s Alexis Tsipras, who imposes the most ridiculous austerity policies on his people, or Podemos in Spain, who have no policy for Europe at all.”
“The left parties have such different fractions in them that issuing a party manifesto becomes a carte blanche, it’s not coherent. This way you’re not going to draw voters from the right or from progressive parties. You shrink,” Varoufakis said.
Asked if he considered joining the leftist GUE/NGL political group in the next EU Parliament, Varoufakis said ideally his movement would join none of them.
“We’d like to collaborate with different groups on different issues. What the bureaucratic processes in terms of the right to speak etc. may force us into is another thing. But I don’t think this is the time to discuss this. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
EU lawmakers from the GUE-NGL, the Greens and the EU social democrats (S&D) have formed the so-called Progressive Caucus, an informal group, which aims to build bridges among the three political families and in the long run, form a “progressive” front.
But the European left remains widely fragmented, as seen in the case of the leader of La France Insoumise, Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
Asked about this move, Varoufakis said it was “just big talk”.
“They’re not really approaching each other. The elections are in May but they don’t work together. They have no common programme, the discourse on Progressive Caucus doesn’t affect their electoral campaigns. It’s irrelevant.”
Why run in Germany?
Asked why he decided to run in Germany, he replied, “If you want to change the Roman Empire, you start in Rome”.
“Germany is the economic heart of Europe, the engine that pulls it, whether we like it or not. But also because public opinion in Germany, until recently at least, was much closer to Europeanism than in France for example,” he said.
He added that the French elites had always looked at the EU as an opportunity to project French power globally whereas Germany really wanted to integrate into the European project.
“That’s why it is the best place to work on democracy in Europe.”