DiEM25 was born in February 2016, here at the Volksbühne Theatre, by a coalition of European progressive democrats convinced that Europe is fragmenting with detrimental effects for its peoples everywhere, in the North and the South, in the East and the West. “Europe will be democratised or it will disintegrate!” was our slogan. In the fifteen months that have passed events have, unfortunately, confirmed DiEM25’s prognosis. Brexit was only an early warning, caused to a large extent by the inane and authoritarian handling of the Eurozone’s socio-economic and governance failures.
Today, following the election of Emmanuel Macron in France (whose candidacy DiEM25 supported in view of the threat posed by the xenophobic ultra-right), the establishment is rejoicing, immersed in the fantasy that Europe’s disintegration and slide into a post-modern version of the 1930s has been halted. While Macron’s victory has prevented the instant dissolution of the EU, his proposals for converting the Eurozone into a federation-lite in exchange for neoliberal reforms (especially vis-à-vis labour markets) at the level of the nation-state are guaranteed to fail, thus dashing the hyper-optimistic expectations that they are now creating and giving the crisis another spin. On the one hand Macron’s domestic reforms will deepen the socio-economic crisis that strengthens xenophobic nationalism while, on the other hand, the German establishment and that of other surplus countries will veto his proposals for the Treaty changes necessary to usher in the federal model for the Eurozone that he is proposing. The deflation of the hopes that Macron’s victory has inflated will, before long, reinforce the centrifugal forces tearing Europe apart.
Since its inception, DiEM25 has posed a question to its members: Is there a policy agenda that could be implemented tomorrow morning, i.e. without Treaty changes, to stabilise Europe and thus give Europeans a chance to have the discussion amongst themselves of how the EU can be democratised and turned into a set of efficient institutions working in favour of, rather than against, the majority of Europeans in each one of its member-states?
Over the past fifteen months DiEM25 produced precisely such a practical, applicable and comprehensive policy agenda. It was presented in Rome, on the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, on 25th March 2017, entitled DiEM25’s European New Deal. During its Rome launch, DiEM25 invited political parties, civil society organisations and citizens to join us in Berlin today to discuss ways in which DiEM25’s European New Deal could be put to European voters by 2019 across the continent – to “a ballot box near you” as we put it.
Today and tomorrow we are here, with various political partners, members and activists from all over Europe, to discuss the next step toward 2019: The formation of the first transnational pan-European political party that is necessary to give such a comprehensive economic and social policy agenda the electoral expression that it deserves.
During the next couple of days, DiEM25 will develop, in conjunction with our political partners from different countries and political organisations, a credible blueprint for the transnational progressive party Europe needs – to be voted, after a process of serious deliberation, by our entire membership and announced in Brussels in the context of DiEM25’s “Real State of the Union” event on September 9.
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