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In those negotiations, Varoufakis argued that level of austerity would crash the Greek economy and make the repayment of its debt near-impossible. The Greek public agreed with him, rejecting the austerity-focused bailout conditions proposed by the E. And those people are intent on breaking Europe. That prediction has come true, he says now. European institutions, he argues, succeeded in temporarily propping up a failing financial system by bailing out creditors, while crippling populations across Europe with austerity.

His radical message is that the economic policies of the European establishment are not the alternative to the far right. Instead, he says, they are to blame for its rise. Candidates will espouse this message while contesting seats in eight countries across Europe in the upcoming elections.

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Because their policies and their incompetence are creating the discontent that is feeding Salvini. And then the clueless liberal establishment, like Clinton, try to explain the inexplicable, because they do not want to accept that their policies were the ones that created the discontent that populists are exploiting. Instead, he says, a message of unity is necessary—one that brings Europeans together around shared ideals of democracy and transparency.

That message, he hopes, can be a political force strong enough to compete with the populist messages coming from the far-right.

In Europe, the Only Choice Is Right or Far-Right – Foreign Policy

They invest in that anger, they turbocharge that anger, they turn it against the Other, whether the Other is the Jew or the Syrian or the Mexican. Their workings, Varoufakis argues, have de facto become exempt from democratic oversight because of their complexity. The success of pairing lofty symbolism with technical detail will only become clear on the campaign trail.

Varoufakis has his eye on the Greek elections, also scheduled to be held in When a date is set, he tells TIME, he will step aside from the European parliament to run for a second stint in the legislature of his home country. Tensions have re-emerged between the centre and the periphery, between richer and poorer member states, between creditors and debtors, between the north and the south. There is a feeling of a loss of fairness and equity. There was a dramatic rise of unemployment and a huge challenge to our social model.

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But the crisis has also increased resolve that reforms are needed if we want to maintain European competitiveness, productivity, employment and ultimately our European growth model. And it has increased awareness of our interdependence. In order to safeguard peace and prosperity in Europe, we need an EU that is much more willing to act together, project its power internationally and strengthen its role and influence.

A new world order is being forged. Either we contribute to reshaping it or we miss out on the future.

Democratizing Europe’s Economy

Either Europe will advance in its coherence or it will face irrelevance. This means that the EU must develop further. I believe that we need to perfect our political union. Such a development must be an organic, not an abrupt one. Reform, not revolution — that is the lesson I draw from my European experiences, mainly from my 10 years as president of the European Commission.

Events over the past decade are testimony to the extraordinary adaptability and flexibility of the EU's institutions. One could call it their plasticity: they adjust shape and form while keeping the substance. And that is exactly what we are doing now to meet the challenges of our time.

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  • It will require us to develop a new level of political maturity that matches the degree of decisions we take collectively. For a stronger EU to develop, we must address the lack of ownership for these joint decisions. Populism thrives because when Europe is given responsibilities, key stakeholders often shy away from assuming their part of the accountability.

    The populists should not be given that free ride. For the next phase of European integration we need to build broad-based political and societal support. The drive for earlier phases of European integration has always come from the bottom up as well as from the top down. European integration was based on a clear sense of purpose, a clear idea of the need for Europe.

    The treaties and institutions have always followed the political will. We cannot — and should not — force public opinion's hand. But we must try to forge the consensus we need. We need a new debate to take Europe further. We need to build a real sense of European and national ownership of the European project.

    Minutes of the panel discussions

    The main challenges ahead of us today must be examined from the point of view of first, the politics needed; then, the policies needed, and third, the polity needed to achieve the first two. In that order. So before we discuss the technical details of yet another treaty, we must answer the question: what is the agreed purpose of our Union? To what extent do we join our destinies? How far and how deep do we want integration to go; who wants to participate in what; and why? Whether we discuss further economic integration towards a genuine economic and monetary union, a more unified external policy, or further steps towards a political union, these questions must be debated first.

    Throughout the crisis the political will to act has eventually emerged. From new rules for economic and budgetary oversight to stronger regulation and supervision of the financial sector: whenever the 17 or 18 embarked on a more ambitious project, almost all of the others joined and contributed. The centripetal forces have proved to be stronger than the centrifugal forces time and again. The pattern was for more integration, not less, and for the European institutions such as the European Commission and the European Central Bank to become more competent, not less. But European political dialectics are often characterised by a system where everybody can afford to be a little bit in government and a little bit in opposition; where successes are nationalised and difficulties Europeanised.