Leading German business associations have warned of AfD election successes next year. “Anyone who is considering voting for the AfD must know: This party causes great damage,” said the President of the Federation of German Industries, Siegfried Russwurm, to the German Press Agency. Employer President Rainer Dulger told the dpa: “The increasing popularity that the AfD is receiving really, really concerns me as an entrepreneur and as employer president.”

The European elections will take place in June. The state parliaments in Saxony, Thuringia and Brandenburg will be re-elected in September. The AfD was recently ahead in surveys in all three countries. The AfD state association in Saxony was recently classified by the state Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a confirmed right-wing extremist effort; in Thuringia, the state AfD has been classified this way for a long time.

With regard to the elections in the three eastern German states, Russwurm said: “I have great concerns about that. Much of what the federal government says we have delivered is met with great skepticism and a lack of acceptance in large parts of the population. This situation is fishy “The AfD voices with supposedly simple solutions that are not. I almost exclusively meet entrepreneurs who show a clear stance: The AfD’s program is damaging our country. It is damaging the economy and social cohesion.”

Dulger: Germany benefits from cosmopolitanism

According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the AfD is partly a right-wing extremist party, said Dulger. “She derives many of her positions from nationalism. I can’t do anything with that. We didn’t build our prosperity in Germany with nationalism, but we were and are a cosmopolitan and liberal industrial and trading nation. We have friends and partners abroad with all of us worked well together economically and traded. That is the origin of our prosperity, and I would like to further consolidate this prosperity. Germany benefits like few other countries from its cosmopolitanism. I have not yet seen an answer from the AfD to the question of how we do it “We want to fill the skills gap that the aging society brings.”

The anti-European attitude also bothers him, said the President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations. “We must not forget that the model of the European Union, a united Europe, is not only the reason and the cause of a lasting peace in Europe lasting more than 70 years, but also the guarantee of the prosperity that we all enjoy today . We can work across national borders, shop without tariffs with a single currency, trade, build lives – and all of this in peace and freedom. That is the successful model of Europe that we want. And the AfD doesn’t have any of that on the agenda – the destructive anti-attitude just worries me a lot.”

Many AfD voters are disappointed with the large popular parties, Dulger continued. “They say: That’s enough. Politicians should pay more attention to this. This means that the federal government now delivers and doesn’t get entangled in debates with itself again. Many parties don’t want to touch on certain topics either. That’s wrong. This is where a situation is emerging Vacuum that the AfD is happy to fill.”

Looking at the European elections

Russwurm called for more commitment to Europe. There are only six months left until the European elections. “I would like to see a campaign by the democratic parties for a long time to convince as many voters as possible of how useful and important Europe is for us. You hear this from industry everywhere. We want more Europe and a “Stronger Europe. Some things that we have not yet tackled in Europe need to be tackled now, for example a capital markets union, deeper energy cooperation, and a digital single market with the same implementation across the EU.”