Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

"Dexit": Could Germany Become the "New Britain" in the EU?

Sat 24 Feb 2024 | 10:40 PM
By Ahmad El-Assasy

As the world witnessed rapid international transformations in the early '90s, strong calls emerged for bolstering European nationalism and achieving economic integration, culminating in the formation of the European Union in 1993. This integration was further solidified with the adoption of the euro in 1999, symbolizing a unified Europe.

However, years after its inception, the EU faces mounting challenges, with Brexit in January 2020 being a significant setback.

Today, a similar challenge re-emerges with the rise of far-right parties, such as the "Alternative for Germany" (AfD), advocating for a German exit from the EU, termed "Dexit" - drawing parallels with Brexit. This movement has gained traction amid widespread protests and strikes in Germany, Europe's largest economy and the world's third-largest, particularly among farmers and drivers due to recent legislative changes.

The German Economy in "Troubled Waters"

Described by German Economy Minister Robert Habeck as navigating "troubled waters," the German economy's growth projections have been revised down from 1.3% to 0.2% for 2024. With a 0.3% contraction at the end of 2023, driven by ongoing inflation, rising energy costs, and weakened foreign demand, Germany stood as the only G7 country to experience economic shrinkage last year.

The Bundesbank's latest report warns of a potential recession, attributing it to weakened external demand, consumer caution, and rising interest rates hindering domestic investment. Habeck attributed the economic downturn to Germany's heavy reliance on Russian gas, particularly impacted by the war in Ukraine and the subsequent embargo on Russian gas imports.

"Alternative for Germany" Party: A New Challenge?

The "Alternative for Germany" (AfD) party, born from the far-right, poses an unprecedented challenge to Germany's political system since World War II. The party's growing popularity, now second in polls and potentially securing 18-23% of the German electorate's support, reflects its increasing influence.

Amid internal debates on its future EU strategy, AfD has capitalized on growing anti-immigration sentiment and concerns over the Ukraine war's impact, positioning itself as a protector against external threats and leveraging the global economic crisis, particularly inflation and rising energy costs, to critique current government policies. Its pivotal role in upcoming elections could herald significant shifts in Germany's domestic and foreign policies.