Is The End Of The ‘Coercive Euro Association’ Taking Shape In Germany?

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

Anti-euro movements were pushed aside or squashed by political establishments across the Eurozone. There is, for example, Marine Le Pen, of the right-wing FN in France—“Let the euro die a natural death,” is her mantra. Though she finished third in the presidential election, her party has next to zero influence in parliament. Austria has Frank Stronach, who is trying to get an anti-euro party off the ground, without much effect. Germany has the Free Voters, an anti-bailout party that has been successful in Bavaria but not on the national scene.

Then Italy happened. Two anti-austerity parties with no love for the euro, one headed by Silvio Berlusconi the other by Beppe Grillo, captured over half the vote—and locked up the political system. Newcomer Grillo had thrown the status quo into chaos, for better or worse. Suddenly, everyone saw that anger and frustration could accomplish something.

It stoked a fire in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s euro bailout policies—“There is no alternative,” is her mantra—hit increasing resistance, particularly in her own coalition, but wayward voices were gagged.

“Time has come,” Konrad Adam called out as a greeting to the crowd Monday night and reaped enthusiastic applause. Despite the snowy weather, over 1,200 people had shown up at the Stadthalle in Oberursel, a small town near Frankfurt, for the first public meeting of the just-founded association, Alternative for Germany (AfD), that isn’t even a political party yet, and that wants to be on the ballot for the federal elections on September 22.

So Adam, one of the founders and a former editor at the Welt and FAZ, was pressed for time. It’s wrong to say there’s no alternative to the euro bailouts, he said. “Politics is nourished by alternatives.” He introduced his demands:

- Dissolution of the “coercive euro association.” An orderly end of the monetary union. Countries should be able to legally exit if they “could not, or did not want to remain.” The euro would be replaced by parallel national currencies or smaller, more stable monetary unions.

- Observance of the rule of law, specifically the laws laid out in the now totally flouted Maastricht Treaty that specified, for example, that no Eurozone member would guarantee the debts of other members.

- A referendum if “the basic law, the best constitution that Germany ever had,” were modified to allow the transfer of sovereignty to a centralized European state.

The event had been opened by co-founder Bernd Lucke, an economics professor who’d been a member of Merkel’s CDU for 33 years until he abandoned it in 2011 over her bailout policies. So he hammered her. “We have a government that has failed to comply with the law and the rules and the contracts, and that has blatantly broken its word that it had given to the German people,” he said to rousing applause.

But this wasn’t the radical fringe of Germany. The mood was enthusiastic and serious. The people weren’t so young anymore. Supporters, by now 13,000, were a well-educated bunch, with a higher concentration of PhDs than any party. Among the early supporters were prominent economics professors, ex-members of the CDU, and even Hans-Olaf Henkel, the former president of the Federation of German Industry (BDI), an umbrella lobbying organization representing 100,000 businesses. And so the event was orderly, a picture, as the Wirtschafts Woche described it, of the “German bourgeoisie.”

Many supporters hailed from the center-right CDU and FDP, but AfD didn’t want to be categorized in the classic scheme of left and right. “We represent non-ideological values that people of different views can share,” Lucke said.

A claim that was validated: 26% of Germans would consider voting for a party that would steer the country out of the monetary union. They came from all political directions: on the right, 17% of CDU voters and almost a third of FDP voters; on the left, 15% of SPD voters, 27% of Green voters, and 57% of Left voters.

The challenges are huge. One is fragmentation. It would be difficult to get people from that kind spectrum to agree on anything. Another is time. The founding convention will be on April 13 in Berlin. By June 17, the party and sections for each state must register with the federal election office. By July 15, the party must collect signatures in every state amounting to 0.1% of the electorate or 2,000, whichever is lower, just to get on the ballot. But Lucke was optimistic. “With you, we can easily get the signatures,” he told the crowd.

It will be tough. Merkel is immensely popular. The major parties are well-oiled political machines. The AfD lacks truly prominent personalities, experienced politicians, economically powerful supporters, financial resources, structure.... And its platform is still skimpy.

But it doesn’t need to govern. The parliament let itself be intimidated by the executive branch “through the assertion that there is no alternative,” Lucke said. When the AfD arrives in parliament, “it will cause the large parties to begin to rethink.” This would lead to “a critical questioning of the monetary union.” And to a look at the very alternatives that Merkel said didn’t exist.

Every country in the Eurozone has its own collection of big fat lies that politicians and eurocrats have served up in order to make the euro and the subsequent bailouts or austerity measures less unappetizing. Here are some from the German point of view..... Ten Big Fat Lies To Keep The Euro Dream Alive.

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shovelhead's picture


The euro is like watching the brilliant Ardman's "Chicken Run".

Make a break for it or end up in Mrs.Tweedy's Chicken Pies.


stiler's picture

the foundation of the euro is weak. it's not yet the time for world govt. Nat'l entity is still the benchMark. so as the euro crumbles Germany can join w Russia to form a very strong union. But since the financial world's memory is about 2 yrs baack and 2 yrs forward, just forget about it.

Ghordius's picture

if the EUR is for world government, then why does it have a regional/continental label?

stiler's picture

I don't know, why do they have a woman riding the beast as their emblem? Though I don't think a world govt will come out of Europe alone, Germany is definitely key.

Ghordius's picture

well, that one is easy: the Greek Myth of Europe sports the fair maiden called Europe playing with her friends on a beach on Asia's shores

the mighty god Zeus spots her, transforms himself in a great, beautiful bull so that she is tempted to climb on him

then he kidnaps her by running to the water and swimming in the sea, and creates a continent for her, with her name

ilovechina's picture

I would suggest in a world of rising protectionsim that germany think about their options clearly. Merkel is in no ways soft, not nationalistic or stupid. Infact she is the smartest person in the room which is why she is where she is. 

If germany leave the euro and create a new currency, all the countries that are left will devalue until the cows come home and refuse to buy german exports. germany will be front lined as the evil architect of europe and everyone will boycott their goods. Capital will flee into germany new currency pushing it up massively. this would then make its exports to Asia too expensive. Trade surplus will shrink, employment will go up, factories will close and then germany will have to either go through a severe recession to devalue it currency. or restructure its economy away from exports and to domestic consumption. thats 5 years gone down the toilet at the very least. Maybe no one will trade with germany in europe again, as by that time they would have started developing more industry themselves.

We have to remember the majority of the german elites created the eu and common currency to increase trade and improve their trade position. of course germany is getting dragged down by weakness in the periphery. but that weakness emanates from the prosperity germany has received from exports and lending money to the periphery. 

My belief is Germany has more to lose than gain by leaving the euro. the best solution to this is a developed framework that does not border on transfer of soveriegnity. And germany playing charity and investing some of this fiat money in these countries and help them develop some decent industry. Cut imports into europe from china and give them to greece etc. 

Look the financial crisis is about systematic imbalances, we do not need a reset. we need a little less greed at the top and a proper distribution of wealth/trade/resources/lending.


ubjay's picture

Germany is lending to other European countries in order to make them buy their goods.

Knowing that they will never get any money back.

Is that called economy or foolishness?

Who is going to pay in the end?

Right! The taxpayer.

Haus-Targaryen's picture

PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING ALL; (Including Wolf and Tyler ... you guys can change things too, much larger than yourself)

On the message boards here in Germany I'm trying to get the parallel between Operation Valkerie and AfD going.  I would appreciate everyone's help in doing this.  Due to the state of political correctness in Germany it is very hard for one to be anti-EURO without getting labeled a Nazi by the left leaning parties.  This is akin to being called a racist by the Democratic party in the US.  Its a career game over, even though they are always completely unfounded, and are the Left's last resort when someone blows their faux logic out of the water.  However, if we can influence the dialogue and do a compare & contrast between AfD and Operation Valkerie (failed mission to kill Hitler in WWII) it makes dialogue about the end of the Euro publicially acceptable, and those who ideologically oppose AfD if this can get engrained are the Nazis.  If you are all like I, and have been reading about this EMZ disaster for years now, and you want to really do something to change it, start making this comparision.


I know that the Euro sceptic writers, such as Tyler and Wolf, and AEP (who I know for a fact reads ZH) can beging to shape this conversation a different way, they could be vastly successful in German politics.  It is a way for people who cannot vote in German politics help shape the dialogue. 

Ghordius's picture

why don't you post a few links about those message boards in Germany? enough people in ZH who can read German and the others have online translators to get the gist

on one thing I agree with you: in Germany political discussion are very consense-seeking. but this is a very German cultural trait, after all

as I wrote to you before, due to your age you might have missed the discussion in Germany when the EUR was introduced, and it's context with the discussion we had in europe about the ReUnification of the two Germanies

at the end, the Bundesrepublik made a diplomatic and very open pact with France and Italy: support for German ReUnification (against British resistance) in exchange of support for the common currency

note that one thing that happened than was the "creation of a common currency" between West and East Germany ;-)

but this disguises a different discussion: the reason why some Germans oppose the EUR now is not because the common currency per se - it's because of the potential price-tag attached through ESM and other guarantees

this as a hint: if you really want to wean out Germans of the EUR I'd suggest you attack the guarantees angle, this is politically more convincing in Germany and can't be trolled as "nazi-talk"

I'm not sure what to make of your "people that can't vote in German politics" comment - isn't "shaping a foreign dialogue" a kind of intrusion in foreign politics? ;-)

Haus-Targaryen's picture

First, I never link my various internet accounts. 

As far as the pact goes with the French, British, and Italians (as the UK was originally going to be an original adopter of the Euro) it were the French who were roadblocking the creation of a unified Germany, not the British.  (They both were, but the French were much more effective at throwing a wrench in the works).

The French, being the lazy sadists that they (their government) are -- designed a Euro that, according to its original construct was meant to soly benefit them, and prevent them from getting taken over again.  The EMU was as a construct was originally designed to neuter Germany, not "put it on a level playing field with all other European countries."  Instead of doing what he should have done, Mr. Köhl decided to appease the French and play along, as opposed to telling the Frogs to fuck themselves, he is going to reunify without their consent (which Germany as a nation was entitled to do).  But I digress, the idea back then -- and to this day as the recent Daily Focus poll suggests a majority to a large minorty (depending on how the question is worded) of Germans don't like the (t)Euro as a currency and would prefer the dMark back -- was to sacrifice German soverignty and financials (lets be honest the French have been living off war reparations of some sort from German for 90+ years) to try and apologize for the second world war.   

This is no reason to share a currency, because one once-great world superpower is now relegated to the dust-bins of history and scared to death of an independently powerful Germany, with people just because they are geographically close to you.  If Europeans need/want to Share a currency, the French and the Germans MUST BE on opposite sides of the table.  Period. There is no way for these countries to share a currency without the Frogs living off Jerry's handouts. However, since May of 1945 there has been this rubbish political nonsense that Germany and Franch have to have a "special relationship" as my German friends call it, and be best friends in everything.


Germany doesn't have said 'special relationship' with Austria, Hungary, Greece, Czech Republic, Slovikia, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Poland, Russia, or any other countries it invaded in the second world war, just France.  I think the best way to make it politically acceptable to talk about leaving the Euro in Germany is multiple fold, it should be first illustrated;


1) The Euro as designed was not meant to benefit the Germans, or everyone in the EMZ equally, it was designed primarilly to benefit the French.

2) No matter how much money Germany gives away, they like the United States cannot buy their friends.  Better keep the money in country and have Germany money do good things for Germans. 

3) The EU and EMU are not the only things that have kept peace on the continent the past 70 years.  We should think on things like the USSR, the US Military, Nuclear Weapons, and the like.

4) The Current EMU is completely unsustainable, if for nothing else the competativeness gap.  That is -- it costs much less per unit labor hour to produce X in Germany than it does in any Latin EMZ nation.  With the exception of Italy, no other Latin nation is known for building quality products, just the Germans, Italians and Austrians. In order to close the competativeness gap within the EMZ one of 4 things must happen:

  • Germany artifically forces an increase in wages to the tune of 30 to 40 percent.  This is synon. with Inflation.  Essentially, Germany would have to willingly give up 40% of her wealth.  Not just soverign wealth, but private wealth as well.
  • Unit labor costs in the PIIGS (I know how much you like the acronym) must be reduced to less than that of Germany.  Even parlarity won't work, as which would you rather have: a toaster built in Greece or a toaster built in Germany for the same price?
  • The EMZ turns into a permanent transfer union where every year Germany has to give money -- for free -- to the PIIGS just to keep them in the union and solvent.  This won't solve the unemployment problem as Germany doesn't have enough money to make these places grow.
  • Directed QE.  This would be where the ECB prints XXX Trillion Euros and just flat out gives them to the PIIGS.  Because they share a currency with Germany it would reduce the value of 1€ in Germany and be essentially the same as #1.

5) Moreover, the potential price tag you're talking about -- is approximatley 500Billion Euros foregone. The money Germany has "leant" to the PIIGS at this point it will never get back.  Ever. So right now the cost of keeping the Euro alive is approx. 6.250€ per person in Germany.  If you make that per taxpayer your head would explode. How much more would Germany have to pay to get the people excited about leaving?

6) Germany owes no one in Europe anything.

You seem like a nice guy, and youre one of the few pro-Euro guys who can be talked with reasonably, which I apprecaite.


As far as people messing with German politics, lets look at what the German political establishment said about the Italian elections.  Also, the pro EU ads all over Berlin are outsiders trying to influence domestic German politics.  The scumbags at the EU are doing it too.  They do it to create a class of economic slaves, I do it for the liberation of a continent.  You choose the lesser of two evils.

Ghordius's picture


Well, we who fought for a sensible, moderate european integrations all strongly hoped that one day we would face a new generation that would not be emotionally scarred by european war

I was thinking first to put some of your historical record straight, claiming some superior knowledge because of my involvement or just for having been there when it happened, but actually it strikes me as silly, then after all you have the right and duty, in my eyes, to act in this world according to how you perceive the situation. After all, you are the future, not us

It does still strike me as peculiar, though, how strongly you resent the "damn frogs". If you'd be my relative, I'd be sending you tickets and funds for an extensive language/culture trip in France, with the hope you'd be catched however temporarily by some pretty mademoiselle - then after all you are already astride two cultures & languages, so a third one would be a further and easy improvement

Perhaps you've catched a strong whiff of anti-French propaganda from the pseudo-official American view of the Iraq affair - which would also explain your anti-EUR views - though not your "free Germany from all foreign influences" - which is anyway in contrast with your call for AEP et al ;-)

Btw, does Germany owe America (or Russia) anything?


I do disagree on your analysis of the EMU situation, but hey, we'll see what happens


I beg you one thing though: since you seem to be genuinely conscious of how important privacy is, please do familiarize yourself with the current situation of Google et al with the europeans privacy watchdogs. Those huge corporations are also behind the current Washington/London drive for a huge "economic NATO", a trade zone that would encompass both NAFTA and EU (and which would bring among other things lots of genetically modified foods and hormones to you in Bavaria), called the great US-EU Transatlantic Trade Pact or Deal

If this TAFTA deal goes through, then it's possible that soon any reason for the EU and the EZ would cease to exist, and we are all ripe for a request of being admitted as states in the US of A. What do you think? Wouldn't be swell? Bavaria as US state, with the USD as currency? ;-)


q99x2's picture

Austria has Frank Stronach. Germany has the Free Voters and it feels like I have free floating franks in my stomach. Time for the pepto.

dunce's picture

The only thing these countries had in common was geographic proximity and being members of the white race. They might have had Christianity in common but that has been rejected by the majority in all countries and socialism, abortion, and depravity have been embraced.

medium giraffe's picture

The 2007 crisis and finally the Euro crisis have exposed banking in general and Central Banking in particular for what they really are.  Perhaps the pain that we all now must go through will be worth it to rid our planet of these vermin once and for all.  This could be a blessing in disguise.

Banking failures have been well hidden by the likes of The Creature etc, the losses being picked up by the taxpayer, but the fractional banking system will always fail.  The very concept is flawed and this flawed concept has no defence against catastrophe/corruption if it is inherently unstable.  We are  long due a rethink.  And no, flashcrash bitcoin is not the answer, but it does demonstrate that there are always alternatives (Mrs Merkel!).

Ghordius's picture

"Dissolution of the “coercive euro association.” An orderly end of the monetary union. Countries should be able to legally exit if they “could not, or did not want to remain.” The euro would be replaced by parallel national currencies or smaller, more stable monetary unions."

So is it coercive or not? Sounds any country can leave... Is it coercive?

And yet: is it too hard for the South and too expensive for the North? Compared to what? The Dollar? The Pound? Gold?

Choose wisely in a currency war, which is at this stage like a race between junkies about who is the least time "on cold turkey"

walküre's picture

Last one turn off the lights!

Nobody wants to be last in this scenario.

When the sentiment takes hold and sweeps across Europe, the Anti-Euro and Anti-EU revolution will be off to the races.

Not much longer now with Italy taking the lead.

Spiegel saying already that Italy's departure from the EUR is pretty much a done deal. Grillo will make sure it happens. Italians are horrified to see what is happening in Greece could be happening to them as well. They see it and they understand that they're next to go down this path of debt oppression and enslavement.

Spain will probably go without elections and overturn the EUR in a non-democratic process because the whole lot of politicians is corrupt and tied to the banks and the EUR. The people realize that and have lost patience.

Yup, it's not going to be pretty when a common currency and a bunch of interdependent IOUs collapse into its own footprint.

There will be rude awakenings for many when government shuts down and the cheques stop coming.

Freddie's picture

The EUSSR has to go too with the euro.  Totally corrupt.  Let Germans have German leaders, French the French, Italians - italians.   The EUSSR is just anothe rlayer of insanely corrupt and parasitic politcians skimming hundreds of billions.  The U.S.A. should get rid of the insanely corrupt Senate as well or 1 term only.  All scum like Ob-u-Mmer.

The Heart's picture

"When the sentiment takes hold and sweeps across Europe, the Anti-Euro and Anti-EU revolution will be off to the races."

As long as these criminals that call themselves leaders are as corrupted and sidesowen to these banksters, nothing will change at all. It will only get worse until it all falls, or all the corrupted leader war profiteers are removed from office. Not betting on the latter to ever happen to these barnacles of evil.



bilejones's picture

Grillo presents a real threat to the banksters, to no-one's surprise the same old anti-semitim are starting to fly around.

shinobi-7's picture

The technocrats of Brussels should never have let Grillo happen. He may be a clown but he has started something. Now try putting the genie back into the bottle!

Haager's picture

The popularity of Merkel is due to the lack of alternatives. Steinbrück can't be named, he seems to do everything to scare fellow SPD-voters out of the tent. You have Die Linke who won't get more than 15% of the voters at best because it's piggypacked with the SED stigma, you have Die Piraten with some more or less useless internal problems overshadowing their very essence and several more or less meaningless interest groups - including the FDP.
So, the AfD is one option for most conservative and centrist voters which would otherwise stay at home or who would still go with the CDU as the party of the lesser evil.

Rynak's picture

Agree, i find it funny how the "Linke" continously torpedoed itself, by being.... well.... too stereotypically left (i.e. "communist") even though a lot of its agenda, is "ideologically neutral" and "popular" (privacy, non-bailout, anti-euro, anti-agenda2010).... yet it then comes along with goddamn "women rights"... and the like.... wth? in 2013? You think that really is a major problem anymore? Or enlarding the gov apparatus, by regarding every problem answering "verstaatlichen!" (let the gov buy and manage it).

The "piraten" on the other hand..... are on the way to give up focus on their core agenda (again ideologically-neutral), for the sake of dressing itself like a "traditional" left wing party. How about you retards instead would have stuck with your core (and popular) goals, and just added more popular goals? Naaaaah.

So yeah, fragmentation. Lots of parties with some really good aspects, but none of them really feeling "whole" or overally a group one would want to rule.

And thus, the big "flawed but you know what you'll get"-parties retain votes, instead of getting the deal, which did cost the SPD half of its entire voterbase (and it goddamn fucking deserved it).

steve from virginia's picture




There really is no alternative ... no euro = no gasoline.


Germany w/ deutschemark can buy fuel b/c the d-mark will be worth SOMETHING ... as for the rest?


If the euro dies it is because the countries are bankrupt not the euro, itself. If national bankruptcy is fatal to the master currency how can it not be fatal for trivial replacements? Has anyone thought of this? Europe imports 90% of its fuel. Outside of the euro and the chic consumerist fantasies that are wrapped up in it, there is wine and cheese. How much wine is consumed in Saudi Arabia?


Europe's vaunted auto exports are why Europe is bankrupt in the first place: autos do not provide value but destroy capital instead.


Euro or no, the PIIGS are gone with the wind: Eire is afloat only b/c it is a euro tax haven it becomes Gaelic Argentina without the euro. Portugal and Spain will not be able to borrow in any currency without the euro, Greece is done it cannot borrow at all. Italy has reserves ... it is 'wealthy' so they say ... it also has a massive fleet of cars that need gas every single day, those Italian reserves will vanish out the tailpipes of those Italian cars fast enough to make Italian's heads swim.


There is indeed a currency war underway ... as with the class war, the strong are winning, those who can borrow in their own currency. Those who can fake solvency better than the Europeans. 

Leknam's picture

Who is going to buy your gasoline without DEMAND ?

What is so STRONG about a FIAT currency ? Smoke and mirrors.

It's not a fashion show, a fiat currency is a self regulating form of acceptance in exchange for goods and services. Interest rates create demand and equal out balance and deficiencies.

Surely everyone now knows that the euro was only a way to force sovereign states to give up their sovereignty. Good idea when you're not sober and no one asks AND THEN WHAT ?

Live and let live,


Haus-Targaryen's picture

Slit your wrists vertically. 



rhinoblitzing's picture

Long Live the Lira.. and ..... Impeach Obama Now...

Freddie's picture


And +1 million for Beppe Grillo and Italy. 

The Italians at least still have real elections unlike the rigged ones in the USA with Obummer's vote theft in all the swing states.

Vegetius's picture

The Germans are eyeing the bill that the PIGS and others such as France are running up on the German tab and don't like the look of it. They already paid for the basket case that was East Germany and now they are seeing the EU  Multi-Mouchers on the Grift.

Lets be honest the Euro is a complete fiasco and has show up the Eurotrash as anti-democratic, venal crooks. The worst for them is that it also shows them up as totally INCOMPETENT and that is the kiss of death. The end is nigh and people are quietly sneaking towards the exit because you don't want a rush to the few lifeboats that are on the EU Titanic. Sure they will keep talking it up as long as they can but its all over bar the killing.

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.”

– Pythagoras

Lordflin's picture

The Euro was the benchmark for a world currency... I doubt the exit will be so easy...

Lordflin's picture

I expected to get allot of down flags in response to this comment... I would down flag it myself except...

While I see the logic and reason behind a breakup of the Euro... from the standpoint of economics (though Germany still requires export markets) national sovereignty and so on... My point is that too many people with money and power have worked too long on this dream to simply roll over... Will the Euro collapse into sovereign currencies... possibly... But I suspect it will get very ugly first...

Rustysilver's picture

Every military has a contingency plans for a war with most countries.  This is a part of prudent planning.

I am certain that Germany has a plan to exit Euro as conditions dictate.

medium giraffe's picture

I'm sure that you are totally right.  Now we must be on our guard if the Euro Spring gathers pace.  Some, like Grillo, will be the genuine article, but we will soon be up to our balls in turncoat bandwagon charlatan shysters trying to save their necks or perpetuate the dirty old school of lies by way of some scheme or other. 

ebworthen's picture




The French will be the last to leave and return to the Franc.