YANIS Varoufakis now thinks Brexit was the right decision for the UK – despite being a reluctant Remainer during the 2016 referendum.
The former Greek finance minister, who was locked into political battle with Brussels for endless months over austerity and a possible ‘Grexit’, has previously said that the UK was wrong to leave the European Union.
However, Varoufakis has now done a U-turn, saying the bloc’s response to the pandemic had nudged him the other side of the referendum divide.
“I was not a supporter of Brexit. What I was saying is that I wouldn’t want to stay in the EU at any cost – and that is a perfectly reasonable position,” he told Freddie Sayers of UnHerd.
“The day after the referendum, I could see the problem were the Remainers, because they were simply anti-democratic, they treated those who voted with the majority with contempt.”
Varoufakis was a known opponent of a second referendum, having written on his website back in 2018: “Besides the gross disrespect to those who voted in favour of Brexit (instructing them to go back to the polling stations to deliver what we think is the ‘right’ verdict), the call for a second referendum is fraught with logical incoherence.”
However, despite his consistent criticism of the bloc, he had backed a remain vote in the EU referendum and insisted Brexit was the wrong decision for the working class of Britain and Europe.
But he told Unherd: “Watching the never-ending fiasco of the last 14 months since the pandemic, looking at the way in which, yet again, our great leaders in Brussels missed the opportunity to do that which would be right by the majority in every country, looking at the vaccine fiasco, the corruption and incompetence of the Commission.
“I’ve changed my mind. I think that Brexit, in the end, when you weigh things up, was probably the right way for Britain.”
Varoufakis also hit out at the lack of democracy within the EU – saying it was not so much a democratic deficit as a vacuum.
He added: “The EU was created unlike the State. States emerged organically as a result of conflicts between different classes.
“The EU was created, like OPEC, as a cartel. It was a cartel of coal and steel, then they introduced the automakers, the electrical goods manufacturers and finally the French farmers in the Treaty of Rome.
“The whole point was to limit competition between those large economic interests – oligopolies – and create a bureaucracy in Brussels that would manage this continental market, on behalf of big business.
“Cartels do splendidly during periods of growth. It’s when they have to share burdens that they split. With the EU, they sailed through very small-scale crises until we hit 2008, then they unleashed a majestic project of suppressing democratic opinion – not just the Greek people, but even governments of the right.”
[READ MORE: Yanis Varoufakis, Naomi Klein and Stephanie Kelton on why the ‘Magic Money Tree’ suddenly appeared when Covid-19 hit]
However, he also sounded a warning that the splintering of the bloc could spill over into Britain.
“It’s a question of minimising human cost for the majority of Europeans,” he said.
“Whether you are a Brexiteer or a Remainer, you should not want the EU to fragment or decompose, because Britain is going to suffer immensely.
“If the Euro breaks down, what will it mean for Britain?”
Naturally, Varoufakis is still somewhat in a minority on the left for his stark opposition to the EU, despite its glaring flaws.
However, a coalition with leave-voting politicians on the right is still unlikely due to their focus on reducing migration, he said.
Featured Image: DTRocks @WikimediaCommons
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6 thoughts on “Yanis Varoufakis: Why Brexit was the right decision for the UK in the end”
Always sad but not uncommon to see leftists getting on board with a right wing project. maybe Varoufakis would like to offer his advice to UK SMEs that export to the EU (or used to), touring musicians, theatre managers, post-production film people, actors, and students as to how they might take advantage of the great new opportunities brexit affords.
What a tool. How is it not responsibilty of the national administrations that the vaccine rollout was slow in the beginning? From the position of Germany, where I am from, there is no blaming the EU. Germany had all options to chose from and chose poorly. It is possible Greeces options were much more limited, but not because of the EU but because Greece might not have the infrastructure to quickly produce vaccines. It is quite stupid to think they would have gotten vaccine more quickly outside of the EU. Plus Greece could have licenced and procured the Russian vaccine, there is no EU legislation preventing it.
Janis is not jumping on any right wing bandwagon, merely stating that the EU has been transformed into an undemocratic unworkable institution.
You don’t have to follow Johnson to know how things have changed over the last thirty years. There is also a real alternative based on socialist principles to that of the Tories.
What is often overlooked is that Britain has trade deficits with the rest of the world including Europe, we don’t so much trade as buy other countries finished goods, and it really is time people woke up to it’s implications.