Meloni win great news for establishment, says Varoufakis –


Establishment authoritarianism has met far-right authoritarianism in Italy, Yanis Varoufakis told EURACTIV in an interview. The minister founded Mera25 in Italy last weekend, to run in the next European elections in 2024 and challenge what he sees as “two authoritarianisms”.

Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister and now leader of the Mera25 party, identifies early authoritarianism as the technocratic agenda of former Prime Minister Mario Draghi and governments that continued to push austerity policies during the last decade.

The second is that of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and his deputy, the head of the Lega, Matteo Salvini.

“The authoritarianism of the Troika’s policies produced a political reaction at the time”, declared Varoufakis, underlining “the creation of a new far-right opposition represented before by Matteo Salvini and after by Giorgia Meloni”, forces that Varoufakis described as “racist” and “neo-fascist”.

Because of their opposition to austerity, far-right leaders were seen as anti-establishment, he said.

“Then these forces were absorbed by the establishment, with a process of gradual transformation,” he said, and eventually “Meloni’s victory [becomes] great news for the establishment,” instead of a dangerous time.

Varoufakis sees Mera25 in Italy as a way to fill the political void left by progressive forces in Italy, which “lack a political project”.

A transformed party

“Giorgia Meloni went from proposing Italexit to adopting Mario Draghi’s agenda. A prerequisite for being elected prime minister,” Varoufakis said, pointing to the rapid rise of her Fratelli d’Italia party from the government opposition fringes.

Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right Forza Italia party helped “normalize and absorb Meloni’s party into the establishment”, he added.

The criticism is similar to that of the Socialist and Democratic Group in the European Parliament, which accused the European People’s Party (EPP), of which Berlusconi’s Forza Italia is a part, of being responsible for the normalization of the far right in different countries, including Italy and Sweden.

Varoufakis said a similar scenario played out in Greece, where “my former comrade ‘Alexis Tsipras’ was absorbed into the establishment”.

As finance minister in the leftist Syriza government in Athens, Varoufakis became one of the leading politicians opposed to the “anti-European troika and its latest austerity program”, he said.

Varoufakis campaigned for Prime Minister Tsipras in the July 2015 referendum on the plan the EU and the International Monetary Fund offered Greece in return for a loan package.

However, after Tsipras backtracked and agreed to implement the plan, Varoufakis resigned.

“We are humanists”

On migration policy, the Greek politician said Mera25 supported respect for international law and distanced himself from the Meloni government’s actions of preventing NGO boats in the Mediterranean Sea from disembarking last week.

“We have an unpopular position these days, we are humanists,” he said, arguing that the EU “commits a crime against humanity on a daily basis” when it comes to migration, and is moving towards a “Fortress Europe”.

“Such a Europe can never treat Europeans well. Because the worst part of racism is that when you are discriminatory and brutal towards the foreigner, you end up being discriminatory and brutal towards your own people,” the leader of Mera25 said.

On the contrary, Varoufakis said his party would advocate for migration to Europe.

“We need a political party like ours, which has the courage to look Europeans in the eye and tell them, we are hypocrites,” he said.

“Germany needs 490,000 migrants every year, in order to maintain the stability of the workforce. It limits even more. So what we need above all is not an Italian policy, not a German policy, but a pan-European policy to welcome migrants and refugees,” he said. .

[Edited by Benjamin Fox]


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