Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/23 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/23 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/23 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/23 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/23 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/23 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/21 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/22 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/21 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/22 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 10/22 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/22 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 10/21 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/22 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 10/22 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 10/22 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.

Varoufakis launches new pan-European movement to fight Brussels’ lack of transparency

Varoufakis when he was still Greece's finance minister REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

On Tuesday 9 February, the former Greek Finance minister Yannis Varoufakis launched the new, pan-European political movement named Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) in Berlin. The movement is born amidst growing discontent within European member states with Brussels and people on the continent are increasingly worried about their economic future.

Yannis Varoufakis is known as the stubborn Greek finance minister who tried to fight austerity measures that Brussels imposed on Greece in exchange for billions of Euros in bailout money. That didn't work, and the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, replaced him. 

And now Varoufakis is organizing the grass roots and form a pan-European movement. He appears on TV on a daily basis in various European countries: 

“It is time that we bring in the people that are sitting, as we speak, on their couch watching somebody else's show, trying to forget their anxieties, their fears, the fact that they may not have a job tomorrow or not enough money to pay the rent or the electricity bill,” Varoufakis said speaking on one of the many TV appearances he made at the eve of the launch of DiEM25.

“These are the people that we need trough coalescing together the different movements. Utilizing the fact that almost everybody knows that there's something rotten in the heart of the European Union at the moment.”

Varoufakis wrote DiEM25’s Manifesto for Democratizing Europe, a six-page statement where he blames the Brussels bureaucracy for almost all the problems Europe faces, its lack of transparency, bankrupt bankers, lying political parties; media tycoons controlling the press and big corporations that manipulate public will.

Ultimately, it says, European citizens have only one choice: to retreat into the cocoon of the nation state or to surrender to what he calls the "Brussels Democracy-free zone."

“We indeed have at the moment certain tendencies, especially in Northern Europe and Central and Eastern Europe and Great Britain that see a retreat to national politics, a retreat to the nation.” says Wolfgang Renzsch, a political scientist with Magdeburg University.

“That is a dangerous development and we have to do something about that,” he says.

But Renzsch does not agree with Varoufakis’ notion of a “democracy free-zone” in Brussels.

“Brussels has a democratic legitimacy,” he says. I don't believe in the democratic deficit. We have a democratic legitimization, there is the European parliament, we have an indirect legitimation with the council, and we have democratically elected governments of the member states. Brussels is, compared to the member states comparatively open.”

Varoufakis launched his new movement, the DiEM 25 in Berlin, and not in his native Greece. “He is a disgrace with his actions,” fumes Anthony Papadimitriou, a lawyer in Athens.

“He has disgraced himself during his term of office. He had his own plans. But now he is not a political leader in Greece anymore. As for the European idea, let’s wait and see. Let him do whatever he likes.

"He wants to be in the press, he wants to be invited for interviews, he wants to go on trips and with this initiative he probably will continue to do this. But I don't think it is a serious political initiative neither on the Greek or European level,” he says.

But many people in Greece and Europe do agree that something should be done about Brussels' bureaucracy and lack of transparency.

In the Manifesto, Varoufakis proposes in his to create a directly elected Constitutional Assembly that should abolish all existing treaties, and create new ones.

“I think it is a huge undertaking,” says Lucia Lois, who was involved in the Occupy movement in Spain. “But I think it is beautiful. We have the right to dream about our way that European citizens could build a common constitution that would be the base for new democracies in all the regions of Europe.”

“It is a beautiful dream. It may be a little complicated to get there, but to have it as an objective will help us,” she says.

Lois says her grassroots organization is now going to study the manifest of Varoufakis, and, if they like it, join his movement.

Now only time can tell if Yannis Varoufakis will manage to organize the European Grassroots organizations and implement his plans, or that he will be a lonely Don Quichotte, fighting the windmills of the Brussels bureaucracy.

Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.