Yanis Varoufakis on why Britain must stay in EuropeThis is a Guardian debate on the EU with the ex Greek finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, on why Britain must stay in Europe.
He is a bit of a "pop star" economist since he became well known due to the Greek economic crisis where was filmed on the news riding around on his motor bike during his negotiations with the Troika, the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the European Central Bank (ECB).
Here he discusses the battle he had with these entities over their harsh austerity policies that were implemented despite a Greek referendum to reject the offer of debt and loans to supposedly keep the Greek economy afloat.
This is one of the things we must note about the EU and what happens when states hold referendums that provide results the EU doesn't like.
If the people vote "NO", countries such as will just hold another referendum until you vote the "right way", or like Greece, they just ignore the peoples will and go ahead with the deal that was being voted on anyway.
Greece was entered into the Euro after Goldman Sachs helped them fiddle the figures that made them seem more economically afloat than they really were. They are now loaded up with so much debt that they were forced to even sell off sell off parts of it's own country to raise money.
It had to "privatise", the sea coast at Afandou, which is part of the Greek government's attempts to raise money by privatising its vast portfolio of state-owned assets. It was called the largest firesale in history. Some 70,000 lots were for sale, ranging from pristine stretches of coast through to royal palaces, marinas, thermal baths, ski resorts and entire islands.
However Greece is now loaded up with so much debt it will take forever, unless it is written off, to pay back. Austerity in Greece caused mass migration of it's educated youth to flee to other European countries to find work, the closure of hospitals and whole shopping centres, and a massive unemployment rate (25.6% in March 2015).
We must remember though that even Germany and France have broken the "rules" that countries are supposed to keep to such as the amount of debt they have. Countries within the Euro cannot manage their own interest rates which the UK currently can.
Yanis Varoufakis mentions during the speech a quote by Tony Benn about democracy where he claims for a political body to be democratic you must be able to look your rulers in the eye and ask them three questions.
What powers do you have?
Who gave them to you?
On whose behalf are you using them?
And how can we get rid of you?
Do we have these powers now within the EU?
No we don't, however Yanis believes the UK should stay within it until it is reformed, no matter how long this would take.
This is the problem we face with the EU vote. It has already been multiple decades since we joined the EEC which then turned into the EU and the state of democracy has not got better. Therefore how long should we wait within the EU until it becomes truly democratic?
The answer would be to give the European Parliament overall power over the European Union and create a true federal state. A lot of British people don't want this. Liberals and Conservatives both believe that democracy happens closer to the people.
As the Guardian commentator states, Yanis is really making a call for fiscal union and economic union under a German designed system. He does refute this and gives an answer where he states that a democratic federal union is the opposite of this, also if we disband the EU we will end up in a great depression.
He does admit this there is a massive democratic deficit in the EU but that actually we should turn our anger and desire to stick two fingers up at authority by leaving into a cross European movement to demand a true democratic European Union.
He mentions some easy things that could happen which wouldn't require any treaty changes.
He says all EU Council of Minister meetings should be live streamed on TV so that the people know what is being discussed. Also that the EU central bank has to record their minutes that are then published and that all recent TTP discussions are made public.
He also says that the ECB or Bank of England's quantitative easing should be used to grow jobs, invest in green energy, industry, new technologies and to help the people by generating growth rather than just buying up mortgages.
To get to this new democratic state however he admits that the current rulers must first be overthrown. He doesn't call for a revolution but the same kind of ground swell of public opinion that managed to defeat the Soviet Union.
Whether this can be done or not is a big question and a big chance to take if the UK votes to stay within the EU.
What do you think about Yanis and his thoughts on the EU and the forthcoming UK referendum.
Do you agree with him and is the risk worth taking that we can change the democratic nature of the EU?