A diverse coalition of progressive activists, academics, and politicians gathered in Brussels Monday to present a humane alternative to both the failing European political establishment and the xenophobic right.
"The EU needs to become a realm of shared prosperity, peace, and solidarity for all Europeans. We must act quickly, before the EU disintegrates."
Featured speakers at the "Citizen Takeover of the EU" gathering included former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, actress and political activist Pamela Anderson, Croatian philosopher Srećko Horvat, and human rights lawyer Laura Alvarez, wife of U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25)—which organized the event—said the goal was to present a long-term vision for a democratic European Union that can defeat both the "xenophobic, anti-European, forces gaining ground" and the "inane establishment."
"Europeans are losing their faith in the possibility of European solutions to European problems. At the same time as faith in the EU is waning, we see a rise of misanthropy, xenophobia, and toxic nationalism," DiEM25 said in a statement. "If this development is not stopped, we fear a return to the 1930s."
"That is why we have come together despite our diverse political traditions—Green, radical left, liberal—in order to repair the EU," the statement continued. "The EU needs to become a realm of shared prosperity, peace, and solidarity for all Europeans. We must act quickly, before the EU disintegrates."
At the Brussels gathering on Monday, Varoufakis introduced DiEM25's "transnational list" of candidates to contest European parliamentary elections in May.
The group of candidates—titled the European Spring—will run on "A New Deal for Europe," a far-reaching agenda of progressive reforms including: a Green New Deal to confront the climate crisis, a ban on tax havens within the EU, and a "Constitutional Assembly that will draft Europe's first democratic constitution."
"Today, we are celebrating the beginning of this campaign," Varoufakis said in a speech. "We are the only democrats with a coherent program... that can single-mindedly transform this Europe from a continent which is in the clasps of a two-faced authoritarianism into a continent that works for the many."
Watch the introduction of the European Spring candidates: