Wolf in Sheep's Clothing?: Assessing the Success and Sustainability of Euroskepticism in Germany

explanatory Essay
1340 words
1340 words

Introduction Euroskepticism is no longer exclusively British. According to Eurobarometer polls, trust in the European project has fallen in many countries, including those that were traditionally seen as being the most pro-European of the European Union’s member states. In fact, the four largest Eurozone economies have lower levels of trust in the EU than Great Britain did a few years ago. The Eurozone crisis that began in early 2009 and is still ongoing today has exacerbated the growing distrust of Europe. The extensive austerity measures imposed by the European Central Bank (ECB) on countries such as Spain and Greece are seen by many as an encroachment on national sovereignty. On the other hand, northern European countries are growing increasingly weary of shouldering the debts of others. In short, both sides of the coin feel victimized by how Eurocrats have responded to the financial crisis. In response to these developments, a political party that opposes the common currency has appeared on the German political scene. Known as Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), this German Euroskeptic party began as a single-issue political party advocating for the gradual dissolution of the Eurozone. AfD stands out in a sea of (radical) right-wing Euroskeptic parties because the party was founded by some of Germany’s renowned economists, academics and businessmen. The party surprised everyone when it garnered 4.7% of votes cast during the 2013 Bundestag elections, falling just short of the 5% threshold needed for parliamentary representation. This success is even more astonishing because it occurred only seven months after AfD was formally declared a political party. It is for these reasons that AfD was chosen as the focus of this research ... ... middle of paper ... ...ny Eurozone debts. The 22.4 billion Euro bailout for Greece resurrected uneasy memories of the three-year hyperinflation that facilitated Adolf Hitler’s rise to power. The crisis has led to an increase in negative stereotyping within EU countries – the hardworking and self-disciplined North against the lazy South. In particular, there is growing resentment among German taxpayers at the thought of bailing out their Greek neighbors from their debts. In Germany, there exists a growing nostalgia for the old currency, the Deutschemark. According to Cris Short, many see the European Monetary Union (EMU) as a “transfer union” where money is transferred from the prudent northern European countries to the profligate South. The currency that was designed to unite Europe has now intensified the cultural differences that exist within EU member states and divided the continent.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that euroskepticism is no longer exclusively british. the eurozone crisis has exacerbated the growing distrust of europe.
  • Explains paul taggart and aleks szczerbiak's definition of euroskepticism, which distinguishes between hard and soft euroskeptic.
  • Explains that eurobarometer polls have recorded a slow and steady decline in europeans’ trust of eu institutions. iceland is an anomaly because it is the only prospective member state that has seen an increase in support for eu membership.
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