Greek economist and former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis announced the launch of a new political party that will be a part of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25) that he and Croatian Philosopher Srećko Horvat founded in February.
Varoufakis, who some have called an anti-austerity maverick, quit Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ government after only six months on the job following a 2015 referendum. At the time of its founding, Varoufakis described DiEM25 as a grassroots, anti-establishment movement urging a “new deal” for a continent that has been hit by the fallout of the 2008 economic crisis.
“We will not mince our words,” the 57-year-old professor of economics told journalists in Athens, pledging to “bring realistic hope” to Greece, by calling “people of the left and liberalism, greens and feminists” to support DiEM25.
The party has offshoots in several European countries, including France, Germany, Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Poland, and Lithuania.
Known as a cult celebrity in his own right, fans of Varoufakis’ “responsible disobedience” include Canadian journalist and novelist Naomi Klein, US intellectual Noam Chomsky, and British musician Brian Eno.
Focusing on the lack of democratic process in the European Parliament, Varoufakis said, “we don’t really have one…it has always been there as a fig leaf because of the lack of genuine democratic processes.” His plan for Greece consists of public debt restructuring, tax cuts, and the creation of a state company to manage household debt and protect bank debtors from foreclosure.
Varoufakis also said party members in individual countries will elect a head secretary, electoral candidates and a campaign platform specific to every nation.
Famous for butting heads with senior European officials, among which them the European Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscoovici, he has described Varoufakis as a “half guru, half rock star” and a “narcissist”.
Varoufakis has been quiet on the national political scene after he broke with Tsipras over a third bailout plan.