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Commentary. His determination to enter into talks with other progressive candidates for the French Presidency augurs well in a Europe where progressives are divided.

Why Benoit Hamon’s primaries victory is good news for European progressives

A few years ago, in a televised chat with other French progressives, Benoît Hamon succinctly exposed the essence of our troubles in Europe: “[E.U.] governments may change,” he said, “but not the policies”.

Since then, the Socialist former Education minister has been developing policy proposals to help steer both the E.U.’s second-largest economy and the European project away from its current destructive socioeconomic spiral.

From his calls for universal income and proposals for humanitarian visas for refugees to his ideas on how to make France’s parliament more representative, Benoît’s candidacy embodies the progressive, democratic values we hold at DiEM25. Like an increasing number of European progressives, Benoît embraced DiEM25’s concept of “Constructive Disobedience” as the vehicle to trigger positive change in Paris and Brussels. We should all be excited about Benoît’s victory in the French Socialist Party’s primaries. Moreover, his determination to enter into talks with other progressive candidates for the French Presidency augurs well in a Europe where progressives are divided.

A few weeks ago, I had an open and frank dialogue with Benoît in Paris. As DiEM25 we’d like to continue exploring some of his progressive proposals in more detail (for example, I think that Benoît’s universal income plan could benefit from DiEM25’s own universal right to capital income proposal). But I was delighted with our conversation and Benoît’s willingness to join forces and becoming a leading part of our effort to build the Progressive International that will save the EU from itself.

The media often refers to Benoît’s admiration for Muhammad Ali – he has a poster of the legendary boxer and activist in his office. And I find this quite fitting in terms of the current political landscape and the commentary around Benoît’s chance to become France’s next president.

Bon courage, Benoît! As Ali said: “Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

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