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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Here comes ... the German Anti-Euro Party

Well, it was probably only a matter of time: a German anti-euro party has just come onto the scene.

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten reports that the new party will launch in April under the name  "Alternative for Germany". The party appears to be an offspring of "Wahlalternative 2013" (Election Alternative 2013) - a group consisting mostly of academics but also including Hans-Olaf Henkel, the well-known and outspoken former head of Germany's employers federation BDI.

Despite widespread and continued public scepticism towards the eurozone bailouts in Germany - 63% of Germans are against a Cypriot bailout for example and some polls show that around two-thirds of Germans think they would be better off with the Deutschmark - there is no political party in Germany that is openly sceptical of the euro itself, unlike in other eurozone creditor states such as Austria, the Netherlands and Finland. The new formation will clearly try to fill that vacuum.

So what precisely does the group stand for? Well, according to their website:

1. Germany should no longer guarantee debts of other States, in accordance with the Maastricht Treaty.

2. The single currency should be abandoned. All States should be free to leave to euro and enter currency associations which fit them (northern and southern euro) or introduce parallel currencies.

3. A referendum before the German Federal Republic transfers considerable sovereignty [to the EU]

On Facebook, the group specifies that they will campaign for a return to "national currencies or smaller currency associations". So, strictly speaking, it won't be a pure D-Mark party.

So will this new party have an immediate impact - a German mirror image of Beppe Grillo? Unlikely. In order to make it into the Bundestag, parties need to get over 5% of the votes - which, absent a major turn of events, won't happen (even 1% would be a decent outcome). Perhaps the 2014 European Parliament elections - where the 5% threshold doesn't apply and voters feel less constrained about venting their frustrations with Europe - can be the party's platform, but even that will be tough.

It was perhaps telling that a leaked email from one of the founders, Hamburg-based economics professor  Bernd Lucke, revealed that the leadership of the Free Voters - a political movement active primarily in Bavaria toying with anti-euro ideas and which managed to secure 10% of the vote in the last local elections - declined to join forces with Alternative for Germany. DWN notes that this may mean that the political anti-euro community is split even before they properly come into existence.

15 comments:

Rik said...

Grillo and Wilders and Fortuijn (hope I got the name right) show that one charismatic guy (or even woman) at the right time can do the job. Fortuijn went from 0 to 30-35% in a couple of months and so did Grillo.

And they all have/had no organisation basically, Fortuijn could come up with 1 proper minister (himself) and Grillo with none.

Italy might be a bit different from Germany as perpetual corruption and inefficiency are also a main issue, but the Fortijn situation looks pretty similar and the countries (NL and D) are not that different as well.

If you look at the present alternatives in Germany you have 4 main parties and on the left 2 parties for which even an average populist will not vote.

FDP and effectively SPD are extremely weak look at their leaders they are simply jokes. The main reason Merkel is doing well is simply because the other ones are utter crap.
Greens they still have the idea that they have to save the world. But on the left most people simply vote with their wallet in mind at the moment (and not with hunger in Niger or refugees from Afghanistan. These cost money and the voter on the left understands pretty well by now that that means cuts for him). Look at the situation in Holland the SP simply an interest party for the poor is the rising force on the left side not the SPD and Green equivalents.

Merkel is moving to the middle and like your Dave simply too far. She leaves a huge undefended flank on the right open. The right is simply mainly social/culturally conservative. The right also doesnot need a Tony Blair moment which was necessary for the left as the original old fashioned socialism was outdated and a lot of people didnot see it as a functioning alternative anymore. That is not a problem the right has.
You can combine it, as Wilders and Rutte as well show, with more liberal policies but that has to be done with care and longer term. Imho a strategy with considerably higher chances of success than proposing things like gay marriage out of the blue. Voters at this side will have to move forward but they simply need more time.

Rik said...

Grillo and Wilders and Fortuijn (hope I got the name right) show that one charismatic guy (or even woman) at the right time can do the job. Fortuijn went from 0 to 30-35% in a couple of months and so did Grillo.

And they all have/had no organisation basically, Fortuijn could come up with 1 proper minister (himself) and Grillo with none.

Italy might be a bit different from Germany as perpetual corruption and inefficiency are also a main issue, but the Fortijn situation looks pretty similar and the countries (NL and D) are not that different as well.

If you look at the present alternatives in Germany you have 4 main parties and on the left 2 parties for which even an average populist will not vote.

FDP and effectively SPD are extremely weak look at their leaders they are simply jokes. The main reason Merkel is doing well is simply because the other ones are utter crap.
Greens they still have the idea that they have to save the world. But on the left most people simply vote with their wallet in mind at the moment (and not with hunger in Niger or refugees from Afghanistan. These cost money and the voter on the left understands pretty well by now that that means cuts for him). Look at the situation in Holland the SP simply an interest party for the poor is the rising force on the left side not the SPD and Green equivalents.

Merkel is moving to the middle and like your Dave simply too far. She leaves a huge undefended flank on the right open. The right is simply mainly social/culturally conservative. The right also doesnot need a Tony Blair moment which was necessary for the left as the original old fashioned socialism was outdated and a lot of people didnot see it as a functioning alternative anymore. That is not a problem the right has.
You can combine it, as Wilders and Rutte as well show, with more liberal policies but that has to be done with care and longer term. Imho a strategy with considerably higher chances of success than proposing things like gay marriage out of the blue. Voters at this side will have to move forward but they simply need more time.

Rik said...

The topics with which a right party could score are also very simple.
-Anti-Euro/EU.
-Anti not-Western immigration (bit of a problem as likley highly educated immigration will have to come from these countries as well, but they simply lost trust in the authorities on this one. So now the whole group has a stigma).
-Proper healthcare a worry of nearly all;
-Basically guarantee all the rights they have now.
They are usually against any transfer of money abroad be it PIGGS or be it 3rd world or be it the EU.
These groups are in no way freetrade lovers economics look pretty socialist (unlike in the UK).
I would not go for more liberal stuff in Germany (no gay marriage basically); likely even a big part is anti-abortion.
-Law and order, kick foreign criminals out.
That is about it.

What also might work is the FDP kick their present leadership out get somebody decent and transform in the German version of Rutte's VVD (he took (like Wilders) also 1/3 of the original seats). But to keep the brandidentity not completely oppose things like gay marriage or abortion.
Also there what it needs is simply one person that appeals to the 20-40% of the potential electorate (and a somewhat revised positioning). It doesnot have to be the same 20-40%. But that looks possible FDP is freetrade go for a Cameronesque policy (back to the roots) on the EU and you take nearly all main topics/issues along with that. But more pro-EUo but (and effectively the rest very similar to Cameron).

People are deep down also not very pleased with Merkel. The opposition is simply not organised or better put on the map. Usually boring types, images of what they donot like in traditional politicians).

Communication strategy on the new right is also incredibly poor. Boring complicated long stories. Fortuijn is likely the best example how to communicate. Wilders worked for a few years but got outdated so he had to change. Grillo will not work. Humor does work especially to p*** of a present politician but it should be a funny sauce not humor as main ingredient.

Have to see if somebody is available and if it works. I presonally had never thought that 25% would vote for Grillo, but they did. They must be really fed up. It is clearly not that bad in Germany.

Merkel will most likely have a lot of big negative issues to face in the election. However Peer simply played it the completely wrong way. More open and more paying, while people are mainly concerned with more paying. He basically states I tell you everything but at the end that means you have to pay more. Incredibly stupid and outdated strategy. This wil however change if there is real oposition even if only in the media. If the posterboy makes a goodnews item the media will take care of it (the PR). Grillo, Fortuin, Wilders (Berlusconi) all make 10 times more interesting news than Peer or Westerwelle or Rosler. If it is crap better the crap you can laugh about.

jon livesey said...

Any time I read about Germany, it's always roughly the same thing. Individual Germans don't want bailouts, would like the D-Mark back and so on.

But then you read that political parties actually supporting such polices would be lucky to get 1% of the vote.

The only way I can make any sense is to conclude that Germans are extremely conformist people who can be relied upon to vote the way the political elites tell them to, or at least not to vote the way the elites tell them not to, no matter what their own private convictions are.

Anonymous said...

Political "parties" in Europe are pretty much redundant.

The EUSSR will do as it pleases, irrespective of what any country's political "party" wants.

The EUSSR is a dictatorial, tyrannical cartel of bankster-controlled fascists, and it is not going to deviate from its dictatorial and fascist path until the pro-democracy popular uprising across Europe, which is overdue, forces it to.

christina speight said...

Good luck to the new party but it will take time and I don't think they've got it.

Patrick Barron said...

Finally! A political party that represents the vast majority of the German people. The FDP blew it; they could have been this party.

Anonymous said...

At last!

Many have debated when the German people would get restive and start to demand their own government. A confident, democratic and independent Germany should be welcome to Britain.

postmodernprimate said...

jon livesey said...
The only way I can make any sense is to conclude that Germans are extremely conformist people who can be relied upon to vote the way the political elites tell them to, or at least not to vote the way the elites tell them not to, no matter what their own private convictions are.

A relentless PR machine bombards citizens on behalf of "elite" favored policies and when the citizens can no longer be persuaded of the merit of said policies the same PR machine goes into overdrive with a message of pure doom should voters reject the current path. Most people are busy living their lives and don't have 500 economic blogs bookmarked in their browser. Therefore it's not surprising that when nearly every person on TV, major media outlets, authority figures, academics, etc... screams that Ctulthu will be unleashed and the living will envy the dead if voters change course that they are cowed into submission.

Anonymous said...

@postmodernprimate
The media is the main problem here, since about 70% of the reporters consider themself as left. I will vote for the new party.. Greetings from the baltic sea

gosporttory said...

Excellent news and good luck to the new party. Anything that helps to speed up the eventual demise of the gravy train the better.

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that Open Europe, having proven its independence and superior analytical abilities, refers to Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten without any need to do so. DWN, at least in the past, mixed facts and opinion on a regular basis and have demonstrated that they even cannot get political titles right, not to mention their inability to adequately judge influence and importance. I trust OE will discover this as well but still, why not post a link to a more serious media report?

Open Europe blog team said...

Thanks for your comments

@ Anonymous 7:56 am: Thanks for your kind words regarding our analysis. Without commenting on your specific criticism, the explanation is very simple: DWN was the first one to break the news. Other German media - such as FAZ and Die Welt - only carried the news over the weekend.

Rollo said...

The S-euro: the right name for a currency forcing the southern member states down the drain.

Alex said...

Regarding whether 1% would be a "decent outcome" or not, a survey just carried out (March 6-7) showed "26 percent of Germans would consider backing a party that wanted to take Germany out of the euro". This doesn't refer to a particular party, so you can't just conclude that AfD would get 26% support, but it's interesting nonetheless.

(Amusingly, 26% was exactly what Beppo Grillo polled.)

References:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/11/us-germany-eurosceptics-idUSBRE92A07F20130311

http://www.focus.de/magazin/kurzfassungen/focus-11-2013-jeder-vierte-deutsche-kann-sich-wahl-einer-anti-euro-partei-vorstellen_aid_936563.html