Saturday, July 09, 2016

Spanish politics and the EU

Yanis Varoufakis evaluates Spain's recent, rather inconclusive national election in Only Europe's Radicals Can Save the EU Newsweek 07/08/2016. Varoufakis thinks that it could turn out to be "a pyrrhic victory for Spain’s establishment":

British Tories, like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, knew they could draw mass support from a slogan like “We want our country back!” The Spanish establishment cannot do this. And they cannot do it because, over the last four decades, they managed to retain control by offering voters an unlikely deal: “You keep us in government and we shall do what is necessary to rid you of us, by transferring power to Brussels and to Frankfurt.” Calling for a restoration of sovereignty now would strike Spanish voters as backtracking on the promise to rid them of their local rulers. But, then again, this promise is under increasing strain at a time when the process of Europeanization is in serious trouble.

Spain’s establishment is in a bind. To stay in power it must continue with the narrative of Europeanization and of continual transfers of authority away from itself toward the EU’s technocracy. At the same time, however, it is clear to a majority of the Spanish citizenry that the EU’s technocracy has lost the plot, has inflicted upon the European periphery unnecessary recession, has lost the support of a large majority of Europeans, and is now losing control of important EU realms, like the U.K.
The surprising underperformance of the left party Unidos Podemos, Varoufakis explains this way: "The reason why Brexit helped PSOE pip Podemos at the post was very, very simple: the theme of Europe’s disintegration entered the election campaign with a bang, with three days to go until Spain voted."

Unidos Podemos (Ana Pardo de Vera, Iglesias pide a Podemos mirar al "futuro" y construir un "bloque histórico con movimientos populares" Público 09.07.2016). Negotiations are still under way to form a new government.

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