Germans are becoming increasingly hostile to the euro – with opposition centred in conservative states such as Bavaria, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.
These states are being hurt by higher equalisation payments and are increasingly opposed to endless bailouts. Many are starting to view the euro as harming the cause of European unity rather than helping it.
Many Germans are becoming increasingly irritated by the sort of pettifogging regulations that have long been a source of tabloid mockery in Britain. That they are imposed by the unelected European Commission merely adds insult to injury. Is it surprising then, that many Bavarians are openly demanding the return of a Free State – free from the guidelines imposed by Brussels and Berlin?
A new party known as "Alternative for Germany" (AfD) will be standing for elections to the German Bundestag in September. This party, comprised of university professors, former industrial chiefs as well as businessmen, advocates for a German euro exit (“Gerxit’?).
Last week the German public television channel ZDF broadcast an open discussion at prime time on the possibility of a German euro exit. Euro supporters had a very hard time, as their arguments in defence of the single currency were solely based on the assumption that it maintained peace throughout Europe. But this notion was flatly rejected by the other guests, who stated that the euro had clearly failed and that Chancellor Merkel was a "courtesan of the rich" and the banks.
Leaders of this new party are, among others, Professor Bernd Lucke who – next to outspoken euro opponents Dirk Müller (Mister Dax) and Oskar Lafontaine (Linkspartei), Rainer Brüderle (FDP), Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg's Minister for Foreign Affairs) and the Italian Journalist Flaminia Bussotti – openly discussed a German euro exit on the Maybrit Illner show. This was the first such discussion broadcast on German public TV – and at prime time.
According to a recent poll by TNS-Emnid, 32% of all respondents believe that the EU has brought them personal disadvantages. 65% of respondents stated that the euro had hurt their quality of life. This 65% probably also believes that returning to the Deutschmark would improve their quality of life. 49% stated openly that the country would be better off outside of the EU.
Aside from the AfD, a second political party has emerged under the name "Party of Reason" (PdV), with viewpoints based almost entirely on the theories of the Austrian School.
According to a recent survey from TNS-Emnid for Focus Magazine, any party which openly defends a German euro exit could earn as much as 26% of all votes. If the AfD plays its cards right, it could harvest a success similar to Beppe Grillo's “5 Star Movement” in Italy. This was also a point discussed in the aforementioned show.
As far as I'm concerned, I can only wish good luck to whoever decides to put the German euro exit card on the table – in an effort to rectify past mistakes.