„Nun plaudern wir”, sprach die AFD, und schaute sich freundlich um, „Von Schuhen — Schiffen — Siegellack — von Kraut und Königtum, und ob ein DEXIT möglich ist, und wenn ja, was dann nun?”
[Ed: you will find the translation here, up to the DEXIT point: ‘if a Dexit is possible and if so – now what?’]
Good old Alice… although I’m not sure even the ability to believe “six impossible things before breakfast”, even in German, would help prepare us for the latest EU developments!
This article is about my candidate for word of the year: “DEXIT”. Some of you may be wondering why I’m so enthused by the Department for Exiting the EU, but that’s DXEU. Nor am I talking about the drug, or the Canadian smart key fob manufacturer, or Denmark leaving the EU – this is something different and bigger: AFD’s term for Germany (Deutschland) leaving the EU. They’re threatening that if the issue of Islamic immigration hasn’t been sorted by the end of the next EU parliament, i.e. mid 2023, along with the restoration of national sovereignty, then they will change their policy to be pro-DEXIT.
(German) DEXIT is a very big deal. Whilst historically staunchly anti-Euro, the Alternative Für Deutschland (AFD) has always insisted that Germany should remain in the EU. Just by suggesting their policy could change opens a huge can of worms, or as they say “in ein Wespennest stechen” – which sounds pretty painful! Of course, the idea itself is nothing new, but prior to this week, it was usually raised from outside German politics, mainstream or otherwise.
Traditionally, how you view Germany’s attitude to the EU depends on whether your outlook is hawkish: “They started it: they invaded Poland!” or dove-like: “No, Minister: the Germans went in to cleanse themselves of genocide and apply for re-admission to the human race…” . Either way, it was always seen as a rock-solid poster-boy for remainers everywhere. Not anymore. Now the AFD have defined a new Rubicon, and set a deadline for swimming it.
Those states, which were deemed most likely to break away, were the Mediterranean PIIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Italy Greece and Spain, famous for their “black book” economies. Following last year’s admission from President Macron that FREXIT was a risk if he was stupid enough to grant a referendum on the issue, the acronym might have been amended to PFIIGS – and may yet be – but they all pale into significance now that the certainty of Germany’s role as cash-cow is being seriously questioned.
And it’s not a problem that only has to be worried about 5 years hence, when Mutti, May, Macron (all the M’s!) are gone, and Krampus (Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer) is ruling the roost in Berlin. There are MEP elections coming up this May, and this will certainly help enliven them – not that they were going to be especially quiet anyway, but this will certainly help fan flames of protest: the AFD currently have seven MEPs based on over 2 million votes in 2014, having come 5th from nowhere, and it’s not hard to imagine that following “Mutti” Merkel’s immigration fiasco, they could do a lot better this time round.
Assuming we haven’t left – perfectly possible – and with Gerard’s strong stance on Islam, it’s also not hard to envisage a UKIP/AFD based coalition, which was before seen as unthinkable (at least on their part). It’s certainly a far cry from 2014, when, according to Reuters, “it said it was neither anti-immigration nor anti-EU and had ruled out working with Geert Wilders’ Dutch Freedom party or Marine Le Pen’s French National Front.” Now that the National Front have rebranded, to National Rally, without toxic daddy, I can easily see Marine Le Pen making common cause on Islam and sovereignty with the AFD as well – assuming they’re serious in what they say, and it’s not just a stunt to garner up publicity and then be discarded after 26th May…
DEXIT should have every other state in the EU quaking – along with Britain, Germany is a net paymaster, indeed often referred to as the paymaster, and, if they leave, I can see no viable way that the whole rotten house of cards can remain standing.
Now that’s what I call a real Project Fear!
Happy Rollercoaster 2019!