The Daily Telegraph talks here to Bernd Lucke, the leader of Germany’s new euroskeptic party, Alternative für Deutschland. For reasons that need no explanation the AfD is achingly moderate (the writer of the piece goes to some lengths to distinguish it from those ruffians at Britain’s euroskeptic UKIP), and the party is not opposed to the EU (far from it), but to the single currency:
“The euro is not a currency under which the European project can prosper,” he said. “There is a division of Europe now and this is going to become bigger in the future, if we don’t stop this process and introduce more monetary flexibility for those countries who suffer the most.”
Is this a response to the northern European view that their work ethic is incompatible with that of the south?
“Yes,” he said firmly.
As such, Mr Lucke advocates a progressive “dissolution” of the eurozone, with southern European nations – Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Italy – leaving forthwith. Even more controversially, he also recommends the same fate for France, leaving a rump eurozone of financially prudent Nordic nations that would likewise eventually dissolve as well.
“They (France) should leave and then we would be left with a much smaller eurozone, which could then perhaps exist for a longer period of time,” he said. “It could live on, or it could perhaps be dissolved after the southern European countries have left.”
And yes, this sounds a lot like the process that switching to the Northern euro would set in motion…
The Daily Telegraph continues:
And the fledgling party is gaining support. A recent poll by Focus magazine showed that 26 per cent of Germans would consider voting for an anti-euro party. This figure rises to 40 per cent among those aged between 40 and 49.
Mr Lucke is realistic about his electoral chances, laughing off the suggestion that his party could actually rule Germany. But he could cause a headache for the established political figures.
Indeed he could. Even a few percentage points won by AfD could make life difficult for Angela Merkel, currently favored to win reelection in September. Her awareness that AfD is out there will mean that Germany will take an even tougher line if another Cyprus comes along before now and September.
Hang onto your hats.
The one and only.