There is an architecture in Europe, and the powers that be can’t accept that that architecture is not fit for purpose, and they want to preserve it in spite of this. But they even disagree among themselves. The reason the Franco-German axis is falling apart is because we have an economic structure which has imploded. The key to answering your question is this: German and French Ministers of Finance, Mr Schaüble and Mr Macron, for instance, fundamentally disagree on what design is needed to replace the current model. And while the two elephants in the room are clashing, the mice suffer and, instead of fixing the architecture, they buy time putting plaster on the cracks. It is a political failure. And this is where we, progressives from Europe and Europeanists, must come in, because these two will never get it together.
Democracy is a combination of majoritarianism and rule of law and respect for individual rights. You cannot pick and choose. It’s all or nothing. If you have a group of misanthropists, there is no system of government that can produce results. There is no doubt about it. The only reason that ultra-nationalism is raising its ugly head is because Europe [and America in some sense] is failing and because it has annulled… democracy in the centres of power. And whenever you do that, and you combine negative interest rates and inflation in some parts of the Union, then, just like in the 1930s, the scapegoating phenomenon will emerge. People will need to point fingers at somebody tangible next to them – they cannot understand an abstract concept like inflation or the capitalist crisis – so it’s the [Mexican or the Muslim], or the Other that gets scapegoated.
The architecture of the European Union institutions is flawed. Its leaders seem to deny the ineffectiveness of the response given to the financial and economic crisis as we see inequality and extremism on the rise. The European Union will be unprepared for the next crisis unless it profoundly reforms its governance and enhances democracy.
Today in Europe we see it being bashed, mistrusted, and loaded with negative emotional charges. Why? What do you think are the big disintegration forces at play today in Europe?
Yanis Varoufakis: The European Union is a construct which was simply not fit for purpose.
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