The following answer of Yanis Varoufakis to Sven Giegolds open letter was originally published by Sven Giegold, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), shortly before the official launch of DiEM25 on February the 9th 2016. The wohle conversation between Sven Giegold and Yanis Varoufakis is documented here on Sven Giegolds blog (licence n©*).
Thanks for your critical comments. Brief replies follow:
1. The contradiction is not ours but the EU’s and concerns the clash between: (a) the fact the ministers are indeed elected democratically and accountable to their Parliaments AND (b) the bodies that they participate in, and which make the crucial decisions, are not accountable to anyone – as bodies. Least of all to the European Parliament which is a Parliament only in name so long as it cannot legislate or fire the… Council.
2. „Second, your statements about the Brussels bureaucracy are disrespectful and populist. It is not the “bureaucrats” who decide in Brussels. Key decisions are taken by the Council and the European Parliament“ Our disagreement on this could not be more pronounced. I have watched momentous decisions being taken by a Mr Thomas Wieser (whom no one ever elected and few know) over and above the heads of clueless finance ministers. I have seen how irrelevant the European Parliament is in the decisions that condemn millions to poverty (MEPs are not even informed). The Manifesto’s statements on the Brussels shadowy technocracy are spot on and the precise opposite of populist: they are accurate and are being made at significant political cost. (Allow me respectfully but utterly to reject your use of the word ‚disrespectful‘)
3. I understand why a cursory look at our call for Europeanising the five sub-crises may seem to contradict the parallel call for returning sovereignty to national Parliaments. Except that a closer look at our proposals (see attached) reveals that this is precisely what is necessary and feasible. We are proposing a new modus operandi of the ECB, ESM and EIB that will reduce the discretionary power of technocrats, stabilise Europe’s social economies and, at the same time, increase the sovereignty of the national parliaments. In short, it is a fallacy to think that Europeanising certain realms (like public debt and aggregate investment) must come at a further loss of national sovereignty. Click here
for an analysis.
4. We do not mind how the Constituent Assembly is convened. If the current Treaties allow it, let’s use them. If not, we need to do it anyway. The troika invents new rules and new interpretations of the Treaties when they suit its terrible agenda. Why should we not do likewise for an excellent purpose?
5. The Manifesto plays the role of setting the principles around which DiEM’s members will coalesce. Once it is in place, then every decision that follows will be made collaboratively in the spirit of the Manifesto. But the Manifesto, like a poem, cannot be written by everyone at once, including those who oppose its underlying principles. (The fact that you have seen a variety of its drafts proves that the process has been remarkably open and transparent.)
Lastly, I want to thank you for your comments – they made think about important issues. But do allow me, since you felt (rightly) free to offer me advice, to offer you advice also: Reading your email, I could sense a free spirit that has spent too long in those awful neon-lit corridors in Brussels. The Brussels‘ ideological mindset must be set aside if Europe is to be saved from its incompetent rulers.