1. The AfD on Islam
The party is known for its hostile attitude towards Islam, and its 2017 election manifesto is no different. In its extensive manifesto, under the heading “Islam does not belong to Germany”, it says:
“Islam does not belong to Germany. Its expansion and the ever-increasing number of Muslims in the country are viewed by the AfD as a danger to our state, our society, and our values.”
2. The AfD on climate change
The Alternative for Germany also have some pretty strong views on the role of humankind in climate change. Under a heading called “German Climate Protection Policy: End Political Fallacies, Protect the Environment”, the manifesto declares:
“Climate changes have occurred as long as the earth exists. The “German Climate Protection Policy” is based on hypothetical climate models, which in turn are based on computer-generated simulations of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change). Carbon dioxide (CO²), however, is not a harmful substance, but part and parcel of life.”
On alternatives to fossil fuels, the party says they “oppose any further proliferation of wind turbines in Germany.”
Bundestag (@AfDimBundestag) September 25, 2017
3. The AfD on “traditional” values and women in the workforce
In a section called “Families and Children”, the AfD declare:
“Marriage and family are the nucleus and germ cells of civil society and a cornerstone of social cohesion, and therefore deserve special protection from government.”
They also state that:
“The AfD is committed to the traditional family as a guiding principle. Marriage and families enjoy special protection under the German Constitution.”
There is no direct statement opposing same-sex marriage, however, the wording indicates that the party opposes it and same-sex adoption by being committed to the so-called “traditional family”.
The section also states:
“The economy is calling for women as part of the workforce. There is a misconceived view of feminism, which favours women with a career above mothers and housewives. The latter often experience less recognition and are financially disadvantaged.”
The AfD also call for an “incentive to marry, children, and spend time with them.”
4. The Afd on immigration
The party calls for a radical overhaul of Germany’s immigration and asylum systems:
“We want to change this: We demand a paradigm shift regarding 1) the influx of asylum seekers, 2) the way how the free movement of people is handled inside the EU, 3) the immigration of skilled labour from third countries, and 4) the integration of immigrants belonging to these three categories.”
On European freedom of movement specifically, the AfD:
“calls for a comprehensive and thorough realignment of EU legislation to regain a national course of action and to put an end to widespread misuse of rights related to the Free Movement Directive”
5. The AfD on the EU and the Euro
Unlike UKIP in Britain, which advocated a referendum and a departure from the EU, the AfD support reform of the EU, however, they state that if reforms away from centralisation are not met, they will advocate a “Germexit.”
They say that:
“European politics are characterised by a creeping loss of democracy. The EU has become an undemocratic entity, whose policies are determined by bureaucrats who have no democratic accountability. A fundamental reform of the EU is necessary, if it is to remain a beacon of freedom and democracy in the world.”
As for the Euro, the party calls for “an end to the Euro”. They state that if the Bundestag does not do this, they will argue for a referendum to take Germany out of the single currency.
From the party’s manifesto, which can be read here in English, the label of “right-wing populist” given to the AfD is very much accurate. The party opposes much of the mainstream European political consensus, and by doing so have portrayed themselves as outsiders wanting the change the system.
There is no denying that Germany’s new third party have changed the dynamics of German politics. However, while they have made a significant rise in four years, it is worth remembering that more than 87% of the country voted against them and that none of the country’s other parties in the Bundestag would go into coalition with them.
The question now for the CDU/CSU, the SPD and the rest is: how can they prevent the party from making further progress?