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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

When it comes to Europe, Germany’s political elite and public are deeply divided

On the question of Europe, there is a painful gap between the German political elite and the public.

As our recent YouGov Deutschland poll on German voters’ sentiments on Europe showed, the German public is overwhelmingly against further financial support for the eurozone, and believes that the next Chancellor should back efforts to devolve powers back to the member states.

Now, German business-publication, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, has conducted a similar poll among all 620 members of the German Bundestag. It’s interesting to compare the results:
  • Our poll finds that two thirds of Germans reject any eurozone policies that involve putting any more German money on the line: whether it is further loans to the eurocrisis states, debt write downs or debt pooling.
  • On the question of joint-liability, DWN finds that two thirds of MPs advocate precisely those measures that are rejected by two-thirds of citizens: bailouts, debt reduction and debt redemption funds.
  • Our poll finds that by a margin of two to one (50% in favour, 26% against), the German public thinks the next Chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers back to the member states.
  • DWN’s poll finds that only 9% of MPs want to devolve power back to the member-states, with 91% saying that more power should go to Brussels.
Unless the German government finds a way to address this imbalance, then it might have a lot more than disgruntled Southern Europeans to deal with post-election.


Rik said...

As with all these strategic choices where the politicians want to go another way than the voters things will go back to normal when there is a populist/Euro-sceptic party on the map.
And let's be honest most issues on which politicians apparently know better than the voters are complete nonsense. If only illustrated by the fact that say:
-on Syria(apparently of UK national interest) was apparently exactly the other way around in Germany;
-similar Lybia and Iraq before;
-Euro UK out Germany and France in.
And the list can be made much longer.

With the EU/Euro closely connected to the economy (and people's wallets) it will likely be an issue which is important for deciding for whom one votes. Voters running away is the best incentitive for other national interests.
Like now with a Grand Coalition basically all main stream parties required to have a functioning cabinet (which makes them even look like more of the same). Trend we see in Holland all traditional parties coming together to keep the populists out and losing their credibility towards their voterbase in that process.

Like UKip in the UK, it simply indirectly put the referendum on the agenda. Cameron had basically no other choice (except running his party into the wall).

Merkel is in her last term after the election. Either by her own choice or because people have enough of her. Like with Blair before in the UK. Anyway her kicking the can strategies will likely show their real costs the next term:
-Refersal of earlier entitlements (which Schroder abolished);
-Energie wende (will be extremely costly and anti-business;
-Euro. There will be substantial write offs or other payments with consequences for the budget (and expenditure for the homecrowd).
After which the electoral cards will be dealt again with huge potential for a German Wilders (but more sophisticated).

The EU issue will still be playing then. Like in the UK the Euro and the EU issue will only get from the agenda when they are really solved and the last 5 years the problems have only been made bigger and no solution in sight.

Anonymous said...

It seems that the political class are getting further from the electorate on an exponential basis. Time to ask the peoples of every nation what they really want instead of the top down edicts from the unelected commission, that are rubber stamped by the elected politicians who are supposed to be representing the peoples.

Average Englishman said...

Abraham Lincoln's famous observation seems apt here:

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

The people of Europe need more democracy, not 'more Europe'.

Anonymous said...

Very nice bit of juxtaposition, OE, these are really interesting stats. Shows that Britain is not the only place where political elites are out of touch with what the majority of people think.

Anonymous said...

why,why,why does this bad habit persist of referring to political leaders as an "elite"? I recommend reference to a dictionary to see if it truly fits.