May 05, 2016
We can see why France opposes TTIP, but Germany should be one of the beneficiaries. Yet in Germany opposition to the transatlantic trade and investment partnership is running particular high. ARD Deutschlandtrend, one of main German polling organisations, has come out with a poll according to which 70% believe that TTIP is negative. Even most supporters of the FDP, the most liberal of German parties, oppose it. Among SPD voters, only 13% are in favour, and this clearly includes the party's leader, Sigmar Gabriel, who is fighting a hopeless battle. According to this poll people see that it would benefit companies, but most believe that it would damage consumers. This is no surprise given how the TTIP leak was reported in the German media, where the focus has been on the possible imports of genetically modified food to Europe. If you want to kill TTIP, this is how to do it.
The poll also registered 62% opposition to Angela Merkel's dirty deal with Turkey, especially the lifting of visa restrictions. Fewer refugees are arriving in Germany, but for Merkel the crisis is far from over. The ARD poll has both the CDU/CSU and the SPD down to 33% and 20% respectively, just barely enough for the two parties to form another grand coalition if this is what they want to do. The AfD is at 15%. The detailed analysis, which is more revealing than the headline numbers, suggest that AfD supporters like it a lot that the party does not mince words on refugees, but they are critical of the party's failure to distance itself from far-right influences. The party is therefore vulnerable, and might still implode. But it strikes a chord, more so than any other right wing parties in the past.
Another poll already has the SPD at under 20%. But, whatever the precise number, the weakness of the SPD and the rise of the AfD are the dominant issues in German politics today.
We also have stories on the Commission's proposals on Dublin and Schengen; the outraged reaction of German economists to Draghi; on Federico Fubini siding with Draghi on the current account surplus; on Vitor Constancio's refusal to participate in the Banif inquiry becoming a party-political issue; on the poor prospects that the new Spanish elections will break the government impasse; on Sarkozy changing the overseas voting rules in his party's primary; on a depressing but unsurprising report on the final use of Greek bailout funds; on sticks and carrots in the Greek programme negotiations; on the launch of yet another party of the left in Greece; on yet another eurozone sovereign debt restructuring mechanism; and on advice for the Austrian not-so-grand Coalition.