Scholz warns towards right-wing populism “that wants to destroy democracy” | International | EUROtoday

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The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, opened the SPD's electoral marketing campaign for the European elections this Saturday at an occasion in Hamburg, a well known stronghold of German social democracy, wherein he defended the welfare state, assist for Ukraine in a conflict that ” threatens security and peace in Europe” and where he also warned against the extreme right. For the social democratic leader, the European elections on June 9 are also “against the right-wing populists who want to destroy democracy.” “Against those who believe that a future can be achieved by returning to the past. Those who want to confront people instead of uniting them,” he declared on the stage set up in the famous fish market in the Altona neighborhood. “And that's why I say: we need to strengthen the Democrats. And we need a social and successful Europe,” he added in the city of which he was mayor before making the leap to Berlin.

Germany has been immersed for days in a scandal over Chinese and Russian interference related to the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which led some German deputies to describe this party as a “shame for the country.” As fate would have it, the same week that a parliamentary advisor to MEP and head of the AfD's list for the European elections, Maximilian Krah, was arrested, accused of spying for China, the posting of electoral posters in the country began. The streets were filled with electoral messages in favor of Europe, while on the front pages of the newspapers there was a debate about a party that the German publication The mirror renamed as “Alternative against Germany”.

In this context, it was not surprising that the Social Democratic Party's (SPD) campaign launch event for the European elections focused much of its force on attacking the German far-right, with whom, according to the latest voting intention poll on the public broadcaster German ZDF, would be equal with 15% support. Behind the conservatives CDU/CSU (30%) and the Greens (17%).

Although the SPD does not give the impression that the result of the European elections is especially important for the party, these are the first elections in which all citizens residing in the country are called and which the Government of coalition of social democrats, greens and liberals. Many experts point out that this is a vote on the degree of satisfaction of the population with the chancellor and his government. However, within the party they seem to be more concerned about the elections in the federal states of Thuringia, Saxony and Brandenburg that will be held in September.

Inflation and security

Katarina Barley, who is running for the second time as head of the SPD list for the European elections and who has been working as an MEP in Brussels for five years, personifies the European concept very well. With a British father, married first to a Spaniard whom she met on Erasmus in Paris and now to a Dutchman, she describes herself as “European to the core.” At the event in Hamburg, the former Minister of Family and later of Justice, praised the demonstrations against the extreme right and in favor of democracy throughout the country. In her opinion, in these elections “everything is at stake” and we must choose “the right path” to achieve a prosperous and democratic Europe.

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According to surveys, Germans are worried about inflation, security and migration. “This represents a big difference compared to the last European elections, in which climate change seemed to be a particular challenge for many citizens,” comments political scientist Miriam Hartlapp, from the Free University of Berlin, about an election in which she indicates that there will be two key challenges: low electoral participation and the potential rise of the extreme right.

Meanwhile, political scientist Thomas Risse, from the Otto Suhr Institute in Berlin, “the most important issues in the electoral campaign are not necessarily the most relevant for Europe.” The issue of migration is an issue that will be used by the AfD to win voters. For Risse, the problem for the rest of the parties will be how to address this issue. “We know from countless surveys and scientific studies that when established parties address the issues of right-wing populists, it has exactly the opposite effect, that is, it reinforces right-wing populists,” explains the expert. “People vote for the original, not the copy.”

The German Finance Minister calls for “an economic turnaround” in the country

The German Finance Minister and leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner, has taken advantage of the federal congress of his FDP party to harshly criticize Germany's economic situation, both in growth and competitiveness, and call for “an financial turnaround.” “If a rustic falls from sixth place in competitiveness to twenty second in 10 years, what’s extra pressing than a turnaround?” He declared earlier than the greater than 600 delegates gathered this Saturday in Berlin.

To obtain this alteration in fact, the FDP has a 12-point doc wherein, amongst different issues, it requires lowering paperwork, eliminating the potential of retiring at 63, chopping social help or ending subsidies to photo voltaic and wind power. The doc provokes harsh criticism from its authorities companions, the Greens and Social Democrats. But for Lindner there isn’t a different state of affairs apart from doing one thing to reverse the present state of affairs. “It would be irresponsible not to change anything at all,” he argued to cheers from the delegates.

The begin of the congress has as soon as once more made clear the tense relations that exist within the coalition authorities of Olaf Scholz. The liberal management has warned of the hazard of shelving their requests, because the Greens stated, or ignoring them, because the SPD identified this week. “If there is no dialogue, there will be no future for the coalition,” warned FDP vice-president Wolfgang Kubicki. “If it's not even talked about, then we have a fundamental problem,” he added.

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