Saturday

21st Oct 2017

German centre-right party calls for EU referendums

  • German people need more direct democracy on European issues, says the CSU (Photo: EUobserver)

Germany's centre-right CSU party is hoping to tap into anti-European sentiment in the influential state of Bavaria to attract votes for the June European elections.

Horst Seehofer, head of Bavaria's Christian Social Union, on Wednesday (25 February) made a campaign speech that was notable for its break with the more pro-European stance of its sister party, the CDU, currently the major party in Germany's governing coalition.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In the speech, Mr Seehofer said Europe must become much closer to its citizens and that citizens should have the right to decide on important questions, specifically naming Turkish EU membership as a referendum-worthy issue.

"I want German citizens to be asked whether the European family should be extended to Turkey. Citizens should decide on that," he said.

Earlier in the week, Alexander Dobrind, secretary general of the CSU said: "More direct democracy and a clear no to full Turkish membership, for example, are demands that the CSU could make clearer in its election programme."

"We have to find new ways to allow people to take part more in Europe and to give them more say. More direct democracy, referendums and a change to the election system towards a European direct mandate would do this."

Mentioning referendums and Turkish EU membership in the same breath in traditionally conservative Bavaria is a potentially explosive political cocktail.

There are about 2.7 million people of Turkish origin living in Germany. While most have integrated into German society, there remain Turkish communities with little contact with wider society and there is occasionally tension between the communities.

Mr Seehofer's message against Turkey's full EU membership chimes with that of Angela Merkel and her CDU party. But the Christian Democratic Union – currently in a fractious coalition with the social democrats - has never campaigned on an EU referendum platform, pleading rather for representative democracy. It has also never played the eurosceptic card at election time.

Mr Seehofer's line has largely been seen as a reaction to the fact that the party risks a wipe out in the European elections.

At the moment, the CSU has nine euro-deputies in Brussels but it fears a haemorrhage of votes to the Liberals and independent parties. Parties need to get over five percent of the total vote to enter the EU assembly, seen as a high hurdle for the CSU, which only runs in Bavaria.

In regional elections in September, while still the leading party, its electoral share dropped by 17.3 percent.

The CSU's more populist approach to Europe has prompted speculation in German media about whether such policies – if they are seen to work – will find resonance in the party base of the CDU, which is also suffering in the polls.

Investigation

The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals

Klaus Mangold, a German businessman with good connections in Russia, and who provided a jet for Commission vice-president Guenther Oettinger, played a crucial role in Hungary's controversial Paks nuclear deal with Russia, Direkt36's investigation has found.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

Agenda

Posted workers top EU agenda This Week

The posted workers file will be on the table of ministers and MEPs this week, while budget, journalism, Schengen and party funding are also on the EP's plenary menu.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks