Wednesday

25th May 2016

Focus

German anti-euro party broadens its platform to left and right

  • The anti-euro party is in favour of closer ties with Russia (Photo: Romania Libera)

In an attempt to broaden its election appeal, Germany's new anti-euro party has published an EU election manifesto with ideas seen in both far-right and far-left platforms.

In its election manifesto adopted on Sunday (23 March), the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) promotes a cautious nationalist view.

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But a series of similarities with the manifesto of the far-right National Party (NPD) remain.

Both the AfD and the NPD are in favour of a breakup of the eurozone and a return to national currencies.

Both also demand a "rapid dismantling of the European Stability Mechanism" – the eurozone bailout fund – and both reject the nascent banking union for similar reasons: lack of transparency and the use of German taxpayer's money to bail out failing banks in the south.

They are also both calling for Germany's gold reserves to be repatriated to Frankfurt to be sure they are not seized if the euro breaks up.

On the EU, both the AfD and the NPD are against any further transfers of power to Brussels. Except with regards to the EU anti fraud office (in case of the NPD) and the European Court of Auditors (for the AfD). Both cite the same reasons: to better fight corruption and fraud with EU money.

Turkey's EU membership bid should be scrapped, say both parties.

Another common trait, which is surprising for two right-wing parties and more likely to be associated with the far-left Die Linke party, is better co-operation with Russia and a rejection of the EU-US free trade agreement.

The NPD is against the EU-US free trade agreement (TTIP) because it is "only serving the interests of international corporations," its manifesto reads.

The AfD is also against TTIP because negotiations are non-transparent, undemocratic and behind closed doors, which raises concerns that "European quality, health and security standards may be undermined".

A long-standing demand of the Linke for big banks to be split up and their managers punished financially for risky operations - is also being picked up by AfD.

"Banks who misuse their market position - for instance in the latest Libor manipulations - should be harshly punished. Their banking license has to be withdrawn or they need to be split up in smaller units. Banker's bonuses should be paid on a closed account, that can be opened only after five years. If their management decisions prove loss-incurring, their bonuses can be taken back."

On immigration, the AfD has a more moderate stance than the NPD, calling for a score-system on the Canadian model where immigrants with better skills have more chances of being granted a work visa.

"Immigration into our social systems" is a no-go for the AfD. This is similar to the Bavarian Conservatives, who have turned "social tourism" and "welfare abuse" into a big campaign topic.

The EU should not interfere with how Germany decides to allocate social benefits to other EU citizens and child allowances should only be paid to children who are in Germany and whose parents have contributed "to a large extent" to the German tax and social security system, the AfD says.

EU citizens who are convicted of a crime should be sent back and banned from returning, via collection of biometric data, the AfD manifesto says.

Their political strategy is to steer away from the perception of being a single-issue party – only calling for the breakup of the eurozone.

With 6.5-7 percent in the latest polls, the recently-founded party is likely to have 5-6 MEPs in the next European Parliament, out of Germany's total contingent of 96 MEPs.

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