Backlight: People, Power & Varoufakis

Backlight Current Affairs & Politics
Crisis, European Union, Yanis Varouvakis
Jos de Putter
HD available

If the European leaders won’t start to listen to their citizens soon, the European Union will be a thing of the past. For this reason, former Greek minister of Finance, Yanis Varouvakis, has started a grass roots movement which is rapidly gaining support all over Europe.

What is the most frightening thing for the political order in Europe? Not terrorism, migration or the international competitive position, it’s democracy. If the European leaders won’t listen to the citizens of the 28 countries that make up the Union, it will disintegrate before long, says Greek economist and former minister of Finance Yanis Varouvakis. That is why he has started a political movement, which is rapidly joined by all sorts of civil initiative organisations, from Berlin to Zagreb.

What would a new, truly democratic Europe look like? As a minister, Varouvakis noticed that a politician doesn’t have any power. Real power lies with the people who control the economy. When he presented his new movement DiEM25, he took up the fight with the financial sector and the large companies which, according to him, are cannibalising politics.

The City of London is a state within the British state, so it’s a model for the power of corporate Europe and the end of democracy. It’s a situation which is growing out of control, says German sociologist Wolfgang Streeck. In great detail he explains how we, using increasingly innovative financial manoeuvres, have bought off a political crisis in Europe and postponed the ‘day of reckoning’.

In the Spanish town of Pontevedra, former resident and prime minister of Spain, Mariano Rajoy, has been declared persona non grata. Rajoy granted a sixty-year concession for a large piece of coastal property to an extremely polluting paper mill. This was a typical example of how the old corrupted politics worked. The local population are not going to take it anymore.

Does Varouvakis’ pan-European movement stand a chance? Can it really create change?

VPRO Backlight: People, power and Varouvakis with, among others, Wolfgang Streeck (German sociologist), Yanis Varouvakis (Greek economist and former minister of Finance), Migual Anxo Lores (mayor of Pontevredra, Spain) and Mark Boleat (City of London lobbyist).