Eurogroup gets more transparent – a reaction to DiEM25?

Just a day after Yanis Varoufakis launched its DiEM25 movement in Berlin, it seemed to some that it already sparked a reaction in the EU. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the President of the Eurogroup (the informal meeting place of the head of states of the Eurozone), announced a step towards more transparency in this institution.

Since DiEM25 routes for more transparency, too, I asked Dijsselbloem’s spokesperson, Michel Reijns, if this a reaction to the demands of the newly founded movement. He answered:

„No, the eurogroup president wants this and he got a lot of support from the ministers for his initiative. It’s a matter of improving the legitimacy of the Eurogroup and enhance its external communication vis-à-vis the public, and the European and national Parliaments.“

While at it, I asked as well, if Dijsselbloem wants to go even further with transparency and consider fulfilling the demands of DiEM25, namely live-streaming the meetings of the Euro Group. I added: „If yes, when? If no, why not?“ His answer:

„Live-streaming is not one of the proposals. We are not considering this at this stage.“

So sadly, he didn’t say why, so I asked him for the reason again.

I’m now waiting for the answer and update this article as soon as possible.

Update 12.2.2016, 23:22

I’ve got mail. This was the answer:

„The Eurogroup is an informal body of 19 countries and four institutions. These steps we could make quite easily. Let’s see what could be possible in the future. For now these are important steps and we are happy with it.“

I asked Yanis Varoufakis, why he didn’t join the Union of European Federalists

I asked Yanis Varoufakis, why he didn’t join the Union of European Federalists, a pro-european organisation that is in favor of “promoting a United, Democratic and Federal Europe”.

I recorded the answer a bit too late, but he started answering this question by comparing the situation Europe is in now with the situation in 1929, when – and there begins my recording – “the gold standard was fragmenting and after that, Europe was torn apart. Same after 2008. The common currency area, the euro, has begun to fragment. And very soon we have new fences, new borders. The Germans are being incited to hate the Greeks, the Greeks to hate the Germans, and we are being torn apart again.

So this is not just about Federation. This is about responding in a way that progressive forces failed to respond in the 1930s to the fragmentation of European Capitalism. And that can only happen with a surge of democracy, a movement, not a discussion about federation and federal government.

I am a Federalist. I want a Federation.

But the first thing, we need to do is to bring together all the different movements, from the bottom-up, on the basis of no [didn’t understand], no central committee, with self-organisation throughout Europe, to start a conversation that the establishment in Europe has been denying Europe, the conversation about how to face up, confront this common enemy that is fragmentation, meeting to [misanthropy?], to ultra-nationalism, to borders, to xenophobia.

And once we have this conversation – and this is what DiEM is about: providing the infrastructure for this conversation -, and if that conversation leads to a consensus, then we’ll find ways of synthesizing these into what kind of constitution we want for the European Union.

But look, Capitalists understand the value of failure. They understand, when you start a business and it doesn’t do well, you start another one. Americans are very good at it. We, the movements, must also understand that. To start a movement, and if it fails, we start another one, and another one, and another one. And all those failures together contribute – hopefully – to some success at the level of mobilisation.”

Recorded on Sunday, 7th of February 2016, at the „Blockupy Ratschlag“ in Berlin