There is an interesting article on the BBC website about Alternative für Deutschland, Germany’s new anti-Euro party. Their founder, Professor Bernd Lucke, addressed a Bruges Group meeting a couple of months ago and, with a few others, I had the chance to speak to him afterwards. Other than the Professor comes across as a very engaging, highly intelligent and humorous (yes!) person, there are a couple of things from that meeting that are worth mentioning.
Professor Lucke made a point of saying that AfD was specifically anti-Euro, but not anti-EU as such. Whether this is a matter of true belief or political positioning I couldn’t say, but it will undoubtedly be important in maximising their support. Euro/EU-scepticism is simply not at the same stage in Germany that it is in the United Kingdom. This leads on to the second point.
We discussed the fact that, as with the anti-EU position in Britain perhaps five or ten years ago, opposition to the Euro is—for the moment—regarded as a fringe opinion in Germany. It is not the sort of view most people would feel comfortable telling friends and colleagues that they subscribed to. This does make it difficult for AfD to spread their message via word-of-mouth and social media, but, as the article mentions, it also means that the polls are very likely underestimating their true levels of support. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of the EU hinges on the result of Germany’s elections on 22 September, and a strong showing for AfD would be very significant.