Where German parties stand on Europe

BERLIN — Germany’s election on September 24 is not just about who will become chancellor — it will influence the future design of the European Union.

German voters have to decide whether Angela Merkel or her main challenger Martin Schulz — who lags by about 15 percentage points in polls — will lead the EU’s most populous country and push her or his vision on issues such as eurozone reform, defense cooperation and migration during the next four years.

Also important for Berlin’s future position on Europe is whether any of the smaller parties end up in government as a junior coalition partner. Although Merkel has a comfortable poll lead and is widely expected to score her fourth victory in the national election, her conservatives will most likely need the support of at least one if not two other parties to govern.

The same is true for Schulz’s Social Democrats (SPD), if the former European Parliament president defies expectations and overtakes Merkel.

With six groups expected to enter the Bundestag, the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens are potential coalition partners for the two big parties, while the far-left Die Linke and the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) — a Euroskeptic party that could win seats in the national parliament for the very first time — are unlikely to be courted.

It’s still possible there could be another “grand coalition” between Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and their Bavarian sister party, the CSU, with Schulz’s SPD. However, the Social Democrats have made it clear they are not keen on serving another term in Merkel’s shadow.

Here’s an overview of where German parties stand on the most pressing issues in Europe, based on campaign manifestos and interviews:


In a nutshell: All parties support European cooperation but disagree on border controls for the Schengen zone and how much Germany should pay for defense.

What that means: No matter who wins, expect them to push for a European defense union and a greater role for the EU border agency Frontex.

Ask high-ranking officials among Merkel’s conservatives how they plan to explain to the German public that their country is likely to pick up a sizeable chunk of the shortfall in the EU budget once the U.K. leaves in 2019, and they will tell you privately that it’s a matter of security.

“The times when we could rely on others are over to a certain degree,” reads the chapter on Europe in the CDU/CSU’s manifesto, echoing Merkel’s beer hall speech from May when, after meeting U.S. President Donald Trump, she said Europe must “take our fate into our own hands.” The conservatives believe that for Germany to remain safe and prosperous, the EU needs to move toward a European defense union.

The SPD and FDP both go a step further and call for the creation of a European army. Even the pacifist Greens support further European cooperation on defense, while stressing that “civil crisis prevention” should always have priority.

When it comes to the details, however, party positions differ — especially on military spending. The CDU/CSU and FDP are committed to bringing Germany’s military spending up to 2 percent of GDP by 2024, a guideline agreed by NATO members in 2014. The SPD, however, says “saber-rattling won’t solve any conflicts” and leaves no doubt it will block such a push, as would the Greens.

Opinions also differ when it comes to internal security, particularly the border controls inside the passport-free Schengen area that were introduced at the height of the refugee crisis and are still in effect. While the Greens say they want a return to open borders in the Schengen zone, Merkel’s conservatives say that they will maintain border checks “until the protection of the EU external borders works.”

There is a high level of consensus regarding the future role of the EU’s border agency Frontex.

The CDU/CSU, the SPD and the FDP all want to strengthen the agency’s role. The Greens, who have previously been critical of expanding Frontex, don’t mention it in their manifesto — which may signal that they’re open to compromise if they end up in government.


In a nutshell: Everyone agrees other EU countries need to show more solidarity but disagree on long-term responses to the refugee crisis.

What that means: Expect Germany to get tougher on other EU members who are reluctant to take in their share of refugees. What position Germany takes on reforming the EU’s asylum system, however, will depend heavily on who’s in government.

After the shock of coping with almost a million asylum seekers in 2015, all the parties except the AfD agree that other EU countries should be obliged to help Germany and other highly-affected countries carry the burden.

“Europe has a joint responsibility for refugees,” reads the conservative manifesto.

The SPD and FDP have the most radical proposals for enforcing that: the Social Democrats demand that countries who fail to take their quotas “should experience significant disadvantages,” while the FDP wants them to pay into a fund to help countries bearing the burden.

When it comes to long-term responses for how to deal with undocumented migration to Europe, the parties disagree sharply.

Merkel’s conservatives favor refugee deals with African countries like the 2016 agreement with Turkey. The SPD is vague, saying “cooperation and agreements with third countries open up chances to curb illegal migration,” while the FDP wants to reward countries like Lebanon or Jordan, who take in a lot of refugees, by facilitating trade with the EU.

Regarding the controversial idea of setting up “hot spots” in Northern Africa where asylum seekers’ applications could be processed without them setting foot on European soil, Merkel’s conservatives are evasive. The FDP doesn’t address the issue directly but says: “To spare people the extremely dangerous journey we would like to make it possible to already file an application for asylum abroad.”

The SPD openly opposes the idea, saying “asylum applications [should] continue to be processed on European ground.” Similarly, the Greens say they “won’t let the EU get rid of its problems by having refugees perish in the camps of Northern Africa.”


In a nutshell: All parties want to boost growth in Europe to stabilize the economy but disagree on issues such as Eurobonds and Greece.

What it means: Expect Germany to advocate a two-speed Europe during the next couple of years — and push for a Grexit if the FDP gets into government.

When it comes to potential reforms to the eurozone, Schulz’s Social Democrats have the most wide-ranging and ambitious plans. The SPD wants a European finance minister who would “coordinate economic policy.” The position would be linked to the European Commission and monitored from within the European Parliament. The European Stability Mechanism would become a sort of IMF for the eurozone.

The conservatives are more cautious, speaking of “developing the eurozone further step-by-step … for example by creating its own monetary fund” — which Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, and more recently Merkel herself, say would give the eurozone the ability to respond to crises without having to involve the IMF. However, they remain adamantly opposed to any pooling of eurozone debt.

Nowhere are the differences between the parties more visible than when it comes to Greece and whether it should leave the common currency or not: While the SPD says “no member of the eurozone should be pushed to leave,” the FDP wants to “change the European treaties so that member states can leave the euro area in an orderly process without losing their EU membership.”

FDP party leader Christian Lindner told POLITICO earlier this summer that Greece should be granted debt relief and forced out of the euro on a temporary basis until its economy recovers.

Merkel’s conservatives, who have sent mixed signals to Athens, sidestep the issue in their manifesto.

Addressing the future of the EU in more general terms, there is broad consensus in support of empowering certain member countries to integrate more deeply than others in a “two-speed Europe.” While the SPD and FDP say this explicitly in their manifestos, the conservatives don’t mention it but have embraced such ideas in the past. The Greens are open to the idea, if only “as a temporary solution.”


In a nutshell: All parties are sorry the U.K. is leaving the EU but want to make sure the Brits will be worse off after their departure.

What this means: Don’t expect Germany to stick up for the U.K. during the negotiations.

One way or another, all parties echo Berlin’s official position that in order to enjoy the privileges of the EU, countries need to respect all four of its guiding principles: free movement of goods, people, services, and capital.

The SPD says there can be no “Europe à la carte;” the CDU/CSU write that anyone who leaves the EU must not be able to enjoy its benefits; the Greens want the interests of the remaining EU27 to have priority over Britain’s demands; and the FDP say there can be “no cherry-picking.”

The Euroskeptic AfD suggest that unless the EU is reformed drastically, Germany should follow the British example and leave the bloc. This remains a fringe position in a country where, according to recent polls, support for the EU is actually on the rise.

Original Article

Related Articles


  1. I’ve read several just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to make one of these wonderful informative site.

  2. Ahaa, its pleasant discussion regarding this piece of writing here at this website, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting at this place.

  3. Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

  4. I’m now not sure the place you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend a while finding out more or working out more. Thanks for excellent information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  5. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, amazing blog!|

  6. I simply could not depart your website before suggesting that I really loved the usual info a person provide for your visitors? Is gonna be again ceaselessly in order to check out new posts|

  7. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.|

  8. We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site provided us with helpful information to work on. You have performed a formidable process and our entire group will likely be thankful to you.|

  9. I truly love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my own personal blog and would like to find out where you got this from or exactly what the theme is called. Cheers!|

  10. Wonderful work! That is the type of information that should be shared across the net. Disgrace on Google for no longer positioning this publish higher! Come on over and visit my website . Thanks =)|

  11. Hi just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.|

  12. hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise a few technical issues using this website, since I experienced to reload the website a lot of times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in google and can damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.|

  13. Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thank you, quite nice post.|

  14. You’re so interesting! I do not suppose I have read a single thing like that before. So good to find another person with some unique thoughts on this topic. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!|

  15. hey there and thank you for your info – I have definitely picked up something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this web site, as I experienced to reload the web site a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective exciting content. Make sure you update this again very soon.|

  16. This is the right blog for everyone who hopes to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I personally would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been written about for decades. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!|

  17. Hi there just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.|

  18. Undeniably believe that which you said. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the net the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks|

  19. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!|

  20. Right here is the right website for anybody who hopes to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a fresh spin on a subject that has been written about for a long time. Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!|

  21. I don’t even understand how I stopped up right here, but I thought this put up was once great. I don’t understand who you might be but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you happen to aren’t already. Cheers!|

  22. My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a different web address and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page repeatedly.|

  23. Hello, I do believe your site may be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful website!|

  24. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!|

  25. My partner and I stumbled over here different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a second time.|

  26. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & assist different users like its aided me. Good job.|

  27. I’m no longer positive the place you are getting your information, but good topic. I must spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this information for my mission.|

  28. Hey are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!|

  29. I have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now ;)|

  30. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!|

  31. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; many of us have created some nice practices and we are looking to trade strategies with others, be sure to shoot me an email if interested.|

  32. Adapted utilization of cost of ivermectin 3mg tablets. ivermectin for humans for sale is paramount taken as a sole prescribe with a saturated drinking-glass (8 ounces) of mineral water on an valueless stomach (1 hour before breakfast), unless if not directed by your doctor. To expropriate luminously up your infection, rip off this medicine systematically as directed. Your doctor may penury you to engage another measure every 3 to 12 months. Your doctor may also rule a corticosteroid (a cortisone-like nostrum) championing certain patients with river blindness, mainly those with cold symptoms. This is to improve reduce the sore caused by means of the extermination of the worms. If your doctor prescribes these two medicines together, it is important to remove the corticosteroid along with durvet ivermectin sheep drench. Gain possession of them just as directed about your doctor. Do not miss any doses. Dosing. The measure of this nostrum drive be special on peculiar patients. Bring up the rear your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following data includes merely the common doses of this medicine. If your dosage is different, do not shift it unless your doctor tells you to do so. The amount of nostrum that you arrogate depends on the perseverance of the medicine. Also, the include of doses you take each day, the epoch allowed between doses, and the extensively of nevertheless you study the physic depend on the medical imbroglio for which you are using the medicine.

  33. Hello there! This article couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I’ll forward this information to him. Pretty sure he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!|

  34. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all people you really recognise what you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also discuss with my site =). We could have a hyperlink trade arrangement between us|

  35. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.|

  36. of Minnesota is many times amenable to go out the adventitious mile. The group is there every time we suffer with a buyer necessary and daily provides services and solutions that put our residents first. The conversion to Guardian has been incredibly glossy, and their attentiveness rightfully sets them apart.

  37. In February of this year, you helped me to afford my cat who is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, a gore at a longer in good health life. You had sent me “” to start with. Within a occasional days..she was another cat! My cat had an immediate turnaround with the treatment you advised. She responded so well. I flat have some of the other medication left, but the Thyroidinum 200CH was what definitely got her on the auspicious path. I would like to systematization another vial of this from you. I have nothing to admit defeat at this point. She is eating a crap-shooter reduce (canned vs droll) and sizeable standing and natural chicken, but I truly would like to try one more administration of this homeopathic pill. You are a very dedicated and friendly homo sapiens, and I require recommended you to all who believe in this compare with to treatment. I contain no raison d’etre how long this resolution arrogate her, but with my superior of subsistence an eye to her and your news, she is doing as admirably as I could partake of constantly imagined. In consequence of you so much again.

  38. I was more than happy to find this page. I need to to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely really liked every part of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff in your website.|

  39. Thanks for another informative site. The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such a perfect way? I have a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the glance out for such info.|

  40. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you can be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will often come back later in life. I want to encourage you continue your great job, have a nice day!|

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button