Can Europe Make It?

Europeans should be excited about Benoît Hamon winning the French presidency

From his calls for universal income to his ideas on how to make France’s parliament more representative, Benoît’s candidacy embodies the progressive, democratic values we hold at DiEM25.

Yanis Varoufakis
1 February 2017
haman.jpg

Benoit Hamon. Wikimedia commons. Public domain.

A few years ago, in a televised chat with other French progressives, Benoît Hamon succinctly exposed the essence of our troubles in Europe: “[EU] governments may change,” he said, “but not the policies”.

Since then, the Socialist former Education minister has been developing policy proposals to help steer both the EU’s second-largest economy and the European project away from its current destructive socioeconomic spiral.

From his calls for universal income and proposals for humanitarian visas for refugees to his ideas on how to make France’s parliament more representative, Benoît’s candidacy embodies the progressive, democratic values we hold at DiEM25. Like an increasing number of European progressives, Benoît embraced DiEM25’s concept of “Constructive Disobedience” as the vehicle to trigger positive change in Paris and Brussels. We should all be excited about the prospect of Benoît occupying the Élysée Palace.

A few weeks ago, I had an open and frank dialogue with Benoît in Paris. As DiEM25 we’d like to continue exploring some of his progressive proposals in more detail (for example, I think that Benoît’s universal income plan could benefit from DiEM25’s own universal right to capital income proposal). But I was delighted with our conversation and Benoît’s willingness to join forces and becoming a leading part of our effort to build the Progressive International that will save the EU from itself.

The media often refers to Benoît’s admiration for Muhammad Ali – he has a poster of the legendary boxer and activist in his office. And I find this quite fitting in terms of the current political landscape and the commentary around Benoît’s chance to become France’s next president.

Bon courage, Benoît! As Ali said,

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Who's getting rich from COVID-19?

Boris Johnson's government stands accused of 'COVID cronyism', after handing out staggering sums of money to controversial private firms to fight COVID-19. Often the terms of these deals are kept secret, with no value-for-money checks or penalties for repeated failures which cost lives. And many major contracts have gone directly to key Tory donors and allies – without competition.

As COVID rates across the country surge, how can we hold our leaders accountable? Meet the lawyers, journalists and politicians leading the charge in our free live discussion on Thursday 1 October at 5pm UK time.

Hear from:

Dawn Butler Labour MP for Brent Central and member of the House of Commons Committee on Science and Technology

Peter Geoghegan Investigations editor, openDemocracy, and author of 'Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics'

Jolyon Maugham Barrister and founder of the Good Law Project.

Peter Smith Procurement expert and author of 'Bad Buying: How Organisations Waste Billions through Failures, Frauds and F*ck-ups'

Chair: Mary Fitzgerald Editor-in-chief of openDemocracy

Get weekly updates on Europe A thoughtful weekly email of economic, political, social and cultural developments from the storm-tossed continent. Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData