by Aggelos Skordas
Greece’s former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has announced the formation of a new political party on Monday, promising to bring “realistic hope” to the crisis-stricken country. The controversial economist’s party is named MeRA25 (European Realist Disobedience Front) and extends the DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe Movement 2025) that he co-founded in February 2016.
Presenting the new party’s program in downtown Athens, Varoufakis, known for his eccentric style but also for his monumental clashes with his European counterparts during his time in Greece’s Finance Ministry, said that the country is currently facing the worst threat since the Civil War of 1946 – 1949. As he explained, Greece suffered a fourfold bankruptcy of the state, the banks, the households and the businesses. In Greece “everyone owes to everybody else but no one can pay”, he pointed out. Moreover, the bailout program its creditors provided instead of saving the country, lead to a dysfunctional regime and brain drain as thousands of young people either survive on poor salaries or plan their “escape” from Greece.
“Our young people have to learn to live on 400 euros per month or look to emigrate. We will not repatriate them with debt relief alone as [the creditors] are promising us. Once your human capital has left, you are bereft”, Varoufakis characteristically underlined.
The seven points of the political program presented by Varoufakis are: Debt restructuring, the reduction of primary surpluses, the creation of a private debt restructuring firm, the drastic reduction of tax rates, the creation of a public non-bank payment system, the conversion of the HRADF and the privatizations superfund into a development bank and respect for employment (abolition of the use of “freelance” employees to cover permanent and ongoing staffing needs) as well as creative entrepreneurship.
Fifty-six year old Yanis Varoufakis, who has returned to his teaching post in the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Law School served as Greece’s Minister of Finance from January to July 2015, when he resigned, after a series of disagreements with his European counterparts. He was also an MP of the Hellenic Parliament for ruling SYRIZA from January to September 2015, when he declared he is not interested on running with SYRIZA for the upcoming snap elections.