Francisco Manetto, Susana Urra | ElPais.com
They call it Plan B against austerity and for a democratic Europe,and describe it as “a call to build a European convergence space against austerity and for the construction of a real democracy.”
This initiative is backed by hundreds of politicians, intellectuals and activists – from Greece’s ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, British filmmaker Ken Loach and US linguist Noam Chomsky.
In Spain, supporters include Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, the deputy premier of the Valencia region, Mònica Oltra, the Eurodeputy Miguel Urbán and the leader of Podemos in Andalusia, Teresa Rodríguez.
Organizers, which include social movements, want to hold a “European conference” in Madrid on February 19, 20 and 21 to discuss the future of Europe and set the groundwork for an international network of critical thinkers.
The premise of the manifesto, which is scheduled for release on Friday, rests on the Greek debt crisis and the face-off between the Syriza government headed by Alexis Tsipras and the European Union – a confrontation whose outcome led to Varoufakis’ resignation.
“In July 2015, we witnessed a financial coup executed from the European Union and its institutions against the Greek government, condemning the Greek population to keep suffering the austerity policies that it had already rejected twice through the ballot boxes,” reads the manifesto.
“This coup has intensified the debate about the power of the EU institutions, their incompatibility with democracy and their role as guarantors of the basic rights demanded by Europeans,” it adds.
The Greek example, say the initiative promoters, proves that in order to deal with the current situation it is necessary to pool efforts “from all member states and spheres: political, intellectual and civil society.”
The movement, however, will not organize into a party, but create “a common space” where people who oppose the current EU model can draft “a common agenda of goals, projects and actions with the ultimate goal of breaking the EU’s austerity regime and radically democratizing European institutions, putting them at the service of citizens.”
Barcelona mayor Colau, herself a former social activist who won the May 2015 election with a citizen platform, said that she has spoken with Varoufakis and that they want to “exchange opinions.”