'Disintegrating' EU has nothing to celebrate: Varoufakis

 

The EU is falling apart so quickly it might not last another decade, Greece's former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said Friday as leaders descended on Rome for the bloc's 60th birthday party.

Varoufakis, in the Italian capital for the launch of his new grassroots movement DiEM25's proposals, insisted the EU had no cause to party.

"What exactly are they celebrating? The fact that they are talking about a multi-speed Europe shows they have accepted defeat. They don't have a clue about how to create a unified Europe," Varoufakis said.

As the finance minister who attempted, unsuccessfully, to defy Germany and international lenders at the height of Greece's debt crisis, Varoufakis is liked by critics of the EU's economic "austerity" policies.

Ahead of unveiling his plans for a pro-growth European New Deal on Saturday (Shenzhen: 002291.SZ - news) , he hit out at EU leaders' "business as usual" approach, which he said "is fanning the flames of xenophobia and populism."

He said his New Deal proposals -- coinciding with the official EU event marking 60 years after the Treaty of Rome launched the process of European integration -- involved issuing European Investment Bank bonds to promote growth.

These could be used to fund green technologies and guarantee employment in struggling areas of Europe, reducing the migration that has created tensions and contributed to Britain's vote to leave the EU, he said.

"It's not just a bunch of idealistic goals," he said of the plans, which were drawn up by a 20-strong team of economists, also insisting that DiEM25 (Democracy in Europe 2025) "is not a left-wing movement".

"It is trying to do what European democrats should have done in 1930, after the Wall Street crash and just before Europe descended into an abyss," he added.

He said a crisis was looming when European Central Bank governor Mario Draghi turns off the quantitative easing taps.

"There is a serious risk of the tapering of quantitative easing threatening the integrity of the eurozone, especially at the periphery."

Varoufakis said DiEM25 was an open platform to develop policies that established political parties could adopt, but he did not rule out it presenting its own candidates at the 2019 elections to the European Parliament.

"Europe is disintegrating and we have at most a decade to save it."

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