by Stefano Fassina
To the Editor:
On Sept 6, Yanis Varoufakis offered an interesting review here of the progressive positions addressing EU problems. The first one, he underlines with a clear cultural break, a “standard variety euro-reformism” — practised typically by social democrats — calls for “more democracy”, “more Europe”, and “reformed institutions”. But this option is founded on a fallacy: the European Union has never suffered from a democratic deficit that could be rebalanced with more democracy and a few reforms. The second one identifies “a segment of the Europe Left [that is] now calling for a break with the EU”. He improperly, as explained below, branded this call “Lexit” and associate it to the nationalistic trends now growing. Finally, the third one, described in the manifesto of “Diem25”, the movement he founded and leads, is characterised as “wilful disobedience” to the EU treaties and official pacts with the aim of making EU institutions blink.
His review is incomplete. On the Left, actually on a side larger than the Left as it includes more and more mainstream economists and pragmatic people, there is another position. A position that is difficult to disqualify as prone to and involuntarily in favour of xenophobic and nationalistic parties and movements because it does not want to break with the EU. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. It remains coherent with the internationalist stance of progressive cultures. According to this position, an “amicable divorce” of the euro zone is the necessary condition for saving the EU. This is, considering the most recent authoritative example, the position of Joseph Stiglitz in a book just published: “The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe”. It is the position of a lot of people, including myself, who signed the Lexit network appeal “Democracy and Popular Sovereignty Instead of Neoliberal Integration and a Failed Euro-System” (www.lexit-network.org) circulated last June. Finally, it’s the position I clearly stated in the article that he mentions: “the reaffirmation of democratic sovereignty at the national level, to the extent possible in unregulated global markets, to relegitimize and relaunch European cooperation” (https://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2016/07/15/14599/).