German Anti-Euro Party Making Waves

on April 15 2013 9:32 AM
Euro Symbol building 2
The euro currency sign is seen in front of the European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. Reuters

The euro began the week trading evenly at $1.30 after the region's policy makers backed a 10 billion euro aid package for Cyprus on Friday. However, Cyprus will need to find 13 billion euros on its own, a sum twice as large as the original estimate.

The bailout remains uncertain as many analysts believe the tiny island nation won't be able to raise that kind of capital, and will eventually need more funding.

Germany has stepped into the spotlight this week as an anti-euro party took shape and had is inaugural meeting this weekend in Berlin. According to Reuters, more than 1,500 supporters for the Alternative for Germany party met on Sunday to approve the party's policies and elect leadership.

The group is a collection of academics, business people and journalists who have united under one common goal; to end the euro and reinstate the deutsche mark. Unlike anti-euro parties in Holland and France, the AfD doesn't have a nationalist, anti-immigration agenda. Instead, party leaders support policies that bring skilled foreign workers to the country.

Its members also claim that the dismantling of the euro would benefit both northern and southern members of the bloc, all of which have been struggling since the financial crisis began.

The party seems to have united people who felt their voices weren't being heard in larger parties. Multi-billion euro aid packages for countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain were backed by both of the country's major political parties, leaving those who opposed them no platform.

The group has several hoops to jump through before it will be a nationally recognized as a political party that is eligible in the upcoming elections, but German lawmakers aren't discounting it as a threat just yet. The party has grown to more than 7,500 members since its founding in March, and is expected to continue to swell as it gains notoriety.

Opinion polls showed that one in four Germans are willing to consider supporting the party, something that could throw a wrench into the elections in five months time.

If the AfD makes it to elections and performs well, it could force Merkel's center right party to form a coalition with the Social Democrats party. Ironically, such a government would probably be more supportive of eurozone bailouts than the current administration.

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