Poll: quarter of Germans would vote for an anti-euro party

City A.M. Reporter
ONE in four Germans would be set to vote in September’s federal election for a party that wants to quit the euro, according to an opinion poll published yesterday that highlights German unease over the costs of the Eurozone crisis.

Germany’s mainstream parties remain solidly pro-euro despite grumbling over costly bailouts of Greece and others. A German taboo on nationalism, rooted in atonement for the crimes of the Nazi era, has helped to muffle eurosceptic voices.

But the poll conducted by TNS-Emnid for the weekly Focus magazine showed 26 per cent of Germans would consider backing a party that wanted to take Germany out of the euro and as many as four in 10 Germans in the 40-49 age bracket would do so.

The survey, which canvassed the views of 1,007 people on 6-7 March, coincides with the launch of a new party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), that calls the euro a “fatal mistake”, though political analysts play down its election chances.

AfD and other German critics of the euro say it is unfair and undemocratic to expect Germany to bear the costs of other countries' economic mistakes and call for a return to the Deutschmark. “Every people should be able democratically to decide its own currency,” the AfD said on its website.

Emnid chief Klaus-Peter Schoeppner said the survey results were partly a signal from conservative supporters of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition that they expected a strong defence of German interests in Europe and would not accept any moves towards euro bonds, a sharing of liability for Eurozone debt. “There is scope in Germany for a protest party to win two or three percent support but it would be very difficult for it to enter parliament,” he said, adding that much would depend on the wider economic situation.

A political party needs to win five per cent to get seats in Germany’s Bundestag, the lower house of parliament.