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Yanis Varoufakis wants to be a German MEP

November 25, 2018

The ex-Greek finance minister, who opposed deep austerity imposed by Brussels and Berlin, is to stand in the European elections next year. Announcing the run, Varoufakis said it was time for a European Spring.

Yanis Varoufakis
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has announced he will stand in next May's European elections — representing Germany.

At a press conference in Berlin on Sunday, Varoufakis accepted the nomination on behalf of the Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), which he launched in 2016 to "democratize" the continent.

As the economist spoke, his colleagues unfurled a banner with the slogan "European Spring" — a reference to the democracy movements that swept the Arab world from 2010.

Varoufakis insisted he meets the requirements for representing Germany, including that nationals of other European Union countries have a residence in Germany.

Read more: Germany's Greens pick two EU-election main candidates

Varoufakis was outspoken in his opposition to the deep reforms and austerity measures imposed on Greece by its creditors after the country veered perilously towards bankruptcy and nearly crashed out of the euro currency.

He frequently clashed with his hardline German counterpart at the time, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who backed the painful medicine for Greece in an attempt to push the country back from the brink of default.

Political center threatened

Following the recent rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, Varoufakis said the political center in Germany was under threat because of austerity.

Read more: EU future at stake in make-or-break election, Greek PM Alex Tsipras says

"On paper, Germany is drowning in money ... but the German people have been victims of the same austerity as the rest of Europe. The result is low levels of investment," he said.

This, he argued, boosted inequality, share prices, and real estate prices.

He said his movement wanted to pour cash, raised if necessary via bond issuance, into green policies to tackle climate change.

mm/rc (DPA, Reuters)

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