Yannis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister and academic has announced that he will run for a seat in next year’s European Parliament elections as a candidate for the Democracy in Europe, which belongs to DiEM 25 movement he founded in 2016.
Varoufakis surprised observers by adding that he will contest the seat in Germany, a country whose government the outspoken left-wing economist clashed with over the terms of Greece’s bailout in 2015, leading him to resign as finance minister.
“I accept (the nomination) because it epitomizes the new trans-national politics we need in Europe,” Varoufakis said at a news conference in Berlin.
“I call on all of you to join us in this pan-European quest for democracy in Europe, democracy in Germany as a condition for prosperity and authentic democracy,” he said.
The party’s manifesto includes anti-austerity, green investment policies that call for greater banking regulation and “planning for a post-capitalist economy that is authentically liberal and open: democratising the economic sphere and the introduction of a Universal Basic Dividend.”
Varoufakis gained international fame when in 2005, as the economic advisor of the then opposition leader George Papandreou, he objected to the Greek government debt deal with investment bank Goldman Sachs at European auditor Eurostat. In 2015, Varoufakis became Minister of Finance in the Tspiras cabinet. Here he played an important role in the negotiations between Greece and the EU and continued his fierce opposition to the harsh financial measures against Greece.
Varoufakis resigned the same year calling the bailout terms impose on Greece ‘fiscal waterboarding’.
Speaking at the press conference in Berlin, Yanis Varoufakis said “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?”
Varoufakis will be among ten men and ten women to stand for the party in the elections in Germany next May.
In order to seek election in the European Parliament the candidate must have resided for at least six months in the country in which they choose to run. Asked about Varoufakis’s eligibility to run in Germany a spokesperson for the party said “Yanis Varoufakis meets the requirements to be a candidate in Germany, he is registered in Germany where he has a home,” according to French media.