populist politics

The Return of the Anti-Euro Party

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Alice Weidel, a corporate consultant with a doctorate in economics, wants Germany to leave the single currency. Source: Picture Alliance

Alice Weidel says she joined Germany’s nationalist Alternative for Germany because of the euro crisis. The AfD, she says, was the only party to “clearly and openly” target the policy of bailing out crisis-hit euro economies for violating the law and harming German interests.

Today, the issue appears to have taken a back seat to the AfD’s obsession with migration, Islam and refugees. Ms. Weidel, the party’s new co-leader, insists the party’s focus hasn’t shifted – it’s just that its statements on economic policy garner far less media attention.

“It is my job to bring the AfD back into public perception as the party against the euro crisis policy,” Ms. Weidel told Handelsblatt.

Ms. Weidel, who wants Germany to leave the euro, was an ally of party founder Bernd Lucke, a free market economist who was forced out of the party by its right wing.

A corporate consultant with a doctorate in economics, she took over joint leadership of the party with 76-year-old Alexander Gauland last month. Like their predecessor Frauke Petry and other high-ranking party figures, Mr. Gauland is much more likely to comment on migration than economics. Ms. Weidel’s press releases, meanwhile, are overwhelmingly on the euro.

Her criticism of the European Central Bank’s monetary policy is in line with that of many other economists. It gets a lot less media attention than her warnings against Islamisation, or her comment that rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean was a sign of “Europe’s boundless stupidity.”

Yet, Ms. Weidel believes economics is just as important to the German people. Problems with property prices, rents and pension funding are direct consequences of the euro bailout policy, she argues. And she wants to explain this to the public.

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