Feb 122014
 

Germany’s Eurosceptic AfD is expected to do well in the European Elections, at least by German standards: They are projected to clear the three per cent threshold, which would above all give them access to public funds and more PR opportunities.

After I called them ‘anti-European’ on public radio, upset party members have been in touch (and all over facebook) to inform me that they are ‘anti-EU’ (or rather against the EU in its present shape), but not against ‘Europe’ per se.  They even claimed that they are pro-European, in a fashion. Hm.

I duly decided to mend my ways and read their manifesto front to back, but as it turns out, there is neither a proper manifesto (again, by German standards) nor something specific to the EP2014. All they have on their website is the 14 pt/4 page document they had quickly drawn up just in time for the German general election that was held last September (a legal requirement for fielding lists).

Wordle: AFD-Programm

So I extracted  the text from this PDF and made a wordle from it  (incidentally, wordle.net suggested  typsetting the result in Fraktur, but I decided that would create a certain bias). As you can see, ‘fordern’ (demand) is the most frequent word, which results from the heavy use of litany in this short text. The second most important word is ‘Deutschland’. Euro and EU also feature, but they are on par with ‘Kinder’ (children) and ‘education’ (Bildung), issues over which ‘Europe’ has no jurisdiction.

This is not an artifact of the party’s name (which appears only twice in the text). ‘EU-/Eurosceptic’ they may be,  but this rather goes to show that the party seems very much concerned with Germany and German politics. Right now, different factions within the party – conservatives, liberals, whatnot – try to define what the AfD stands for. It will be interesting to see what future party documents will tell us about this struggle.

Feb 152013
 

Rejoice, oh you PolSci nerds out there: Three of my favourite European blogs – Ballots & Bullets at Nottingham and the British Politics and European Politics blogs at the LSE – are launching a collaboration on euroscepticism, with a whole host of interesting stuff in the pipeline. What’s not to like?