It’s significant that Yanis Varoufakis, a socialist economist and Greece’s former finance minister, has some sympathy for Teresa May and her team as they try to steer Britain through the process of leaving the EU. The two could not be much further apart politically. For those familiar with the writings of Vaoufakis on Greece’s debt crisis and his efforts to negotiate a better deal for Greece, an economically weak nation bankrupted by membership of the Eurpean single currency forced on it by Brussels it will be no surprise that earlier this week he posted a rather self congratulatory Tweet offerng his observations on the chaotic state of the Brexit. He was referring to the impossibility of Theresa May’s task in attempting to negotiate a mutually beneficial trade deal with an intransigent Brussels. Citing his own experience during the Greek debt crisis, he had said that she was running at a brick wall, and so far he’s been proved absolutely correct.
The main thrust of Varoufakis’ comment is expressed in more detail in an artile he wrote fot The Guardian in 2017, in which he warned of the bureaucratic traps the EU negotiators will set for the British government in order to stop negotiations moving forward and preserve the status quo.
here are now only three options left for Britain other than the EU’s terms, which would effectively tie us to all the terms and conditions of the EU while stripping us of the few benefits that come from membership.
First, there is the Norway option, bad for a large economy such as the UK as continued membership of the single market should also require membership of the customs union. Second, there is the Canadian style, free trade arrangement. And third, there is no-deal, leave on World Trade Organisation terms. All three are sub-optimal for the UK, politically and economically.
The parallels with Varoufakis’s own failed attempt to negotiate with the EU, after the Greeks had voted to reject the bail out deal offered by Brussels to helpGreece cope with the economic crosis Brussels’ economic policies had caused, a democratic mandate similar to the one May claims for Brexit, are obvious. The EU’s negotiating position from the start has been, “Accept our terms or we will punish you.” What the little men who make deals behind closed doors in Brussels have failed to understand is that it will not be as esy to punish a global economy like Britain as to crush little Greece ith an economy based on tourism and yoghurt.
“Even though the EU has evolved a great deal, and acquired many of the trappings of a confederacy”, Varoufakis wrote in the Guardian last year, “it remains in the nature of the beast to treat the will of electorates as a nuisance that must be, somehow, negated… For all their concerns with rules, treaties, processes, competitiveness, freedom of movement, terrorism etc, only one prospect truly terrifies the EU’s deep establishment: democracy”…
Which is what this blog has been telling you for years, and I did work in the EU commission during the 1980s, since which time it has only more authoritarian and contemptuous of the concept of member states national sovereignty.