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In an interview with the Financial Times (FT), Pablo Iglesias, the leader of the Spanish insurgent Podemos party and Deputy Prime Minister (PM) warned the European Union (EU) that unless it provides a guarantee of a minimum income for all of its 450m citizens, the bloc would not survive in times of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key quotes

“The EU of cuts, of austerity plans, of a lack of solidarity of the north with respect to the south — that’s not going to survive.”

A “certain [level of]debt mutualisation is a [necessary]condition of the [continued]existence of the EU”. But he also said he was joining with ministers from Portugal and Italy to call for a pan-EU minimum income guarantee to “establish European standards of dignity and to protect consumption.”

“Everyone now understands you need an activist state; the market economy is protected much better and it guarantees certain minimum levels of demand and welfare.”

“People think catastrophes turn atheists into believers; in fact they turn neoliberals into neo-Keynesians . . . The ideas of Thatcher, of [former German chancellor Gerhard]Schröder and Tony Blair have been buried by history; no one can defend them now.”