Subsidiarity and individual responsibility
We, the FREIE WÄHLER, want Europe to only be responsible if a task cannot be fulfilled on a lower level, such as the federal, state or local governments. In the European legislative process, we are working towards this principle being implemented consistently. Every EU law should have a clear reasoning as to how it is meeting this goal, i.e. why a European solution is without an alternative.
Competition, principle of performance and social market economy
As a commitment to the social market economy, we FREIE WÄHLER count on competition, autonomy of collective bargaining and the principle of performance. The protection of one’s property and entrepreneurial decision-making freedom. Politics itself needs competition, too. Democracy and federalism encourage a competition of ideas, which leads to better decisions.
Solid finances and stable currency
We FREIE WÄHLER want to go back to a stable currency and the principle of every country being liable for its own debts. Our monetary union needs to become a stability union. We want to prevent the debt policy of individual countries and banks to keep burdening and jeopardizing our economic system as well as taxpayers and savers. Every country needs to be liable for its own debt.
SME-friendly economic policy
Large companies can often easily follow EU rules, while bearing this burden is much harder for SMEs. We promote a regulation that is suitable for the German and European middle class whilst protecting it from exuberant Brussels bureaucracy.
Reduction of bureaucracy
Wherever the EU restricts people’s enterprising, the acceptance of our work for peace suffers. Bureaucracy restricts the development of people and companies alike. We FREIE WÄHLER thus want Europe to focus on its essential challenges. We stand for a lean concept of Europe with less bureaucracy and regulation.
Positions on currency and banks
Euro rescue policy
We FREIE WÄHLER want to correct the failed Euro rescue policy of the past years. Instruments that were put in place to be used provisionally should not be developed further; they should be reduced. Every country needs to be liable for its own debt and violations against the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) need to be punished consistently. We strongly oppose communization of debt, be it in the form of Eurobonds or other monetary instruments. We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to not having our government bonds be bundled with those of other euro countries into so-called SBBS-papers. This will indirectly lead to communization of risk, which we want to prevent. Debt policy leads to unclear dependencies and hidden power structures. Ultimately, debt policy endangers the independence and self-determination of the citizens and countries of Europe.
ECB, negative interest rate policy and quantitative easing
The ECB’s independence from political influence is still very important to us. However, we FREIE WÄHLER want the voting rights of the national banks in the ECB to be granted internally according to the corresponding share of liability. We also want a system change towards an annual repayment of target balances by gold. We also advocate a blocking minority of 25 percent of the votes if ECB measures could lead to a redistribution of wealth between countries of the euro zone.
We FREIE WÄHLER reject the current negative interest rate policy and government bond purchases. If both are being applied, this will lead to devaluation of savings and difficulties in retirement provision. The average saver, who saves for times of need and his retirement, is being expropriated by a low interest rate policy. Likewise, it is now indisputable among economists that a permanent low interest rate policy leads to a so-called “zombification” of the European economy. This policy means that the European economy will lose competitiveness and innovative strength in the long term.
In practice, the ECB’s scope for maneuver is restricted because its priority is to defend the currency area in its current form. The possibility of a regulated exit from the monetary union (see following section) gives the ECB the possibility of once again fulfilling its tasks concerning monetary policy.
These mainly consist of ensuring monetary stability, controlling monetary growth and in no way allowing monetary government funding.
Regulated exit procedure from the monetary union
We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to making rules concerning the exit of the euro area clearer. In the future, it must be clear what will happen to a member state if it becomes an unreasonable burden for the euro area. So far, only a complete exit from the EU can take place according to the contracts. With an exit from the euro zone, however, a crisis-ridden EU member state can return to its national currency and gradually regain its competitiveness through devaluation.
Liquidation of the ESM
We FREIE WÄHLER want to liquidate the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which originally was a hastily introduced crisis instrument, by gradually reducing its lending capacity. European monetary funds prevent plans by the European Commission and provide for the ESM to be developed into a European Monetary Fund (EMF). We FREIE WÄHLER firmly reject this choice. This would create an instrument whereby the national parliaments would lose any remaining control and at the same time, very high levels of state aid would flow in the event of a crisis. Additionally, a double structure to the long-standing and excellently working International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not necessary.
Orderly state insolvency proceedings in the Eurozone
We FREIE WÄHLER want clear rules in case of insolvency of a euro country. This requires an independent body to oversee the process. The IMF can take on this task. Binding rules are designed to ensure that bankruptcy proceedings are processed within a specified period and that debt rescheduling negotiations cannot be delayed.
Three-pillar banking model and European deposit insurance
We FREIE WÄHLER will continue to oppose European deposit insurance, which endangers the proven investor protection in Germany and even indirectly the solvency of companies and craft businesses. We do not want our soundly working savings banks and cooperative banks to be compelled to being held liable for ailing banks.
We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to maintaining our proven German three-pillar banking model. Especially in times of crisis, our bank structure has proven itself for savers, investors and medium-sized businesses. We clearly reject the repeated attempts by the European Union to question the structure of our savings banks and cooperative banks because they are important financial partners for many people and companies in our country. In terms of regulation, we will continue to differentiate between savings banks, cooperative banks or development banks with low-risk business models and the essential large banks. The small financial institutions must not bear the burden of the special control requirements of the large ones. The existence of essential financial institutions that would have to be saved under all circumstances to avert devastating macroeconomic consequences represents the greatest threat to financial market stability. Their existence has a significant distortive effect on competition. Therefore, there should be no essential financial institutions.
Preservation of cash
We FREIE WÄHLER oppose the efforts of abolishing our cash. In view of increasing cyberattacks, we consider it negligent to only focus on electronic payments. In any case, the security policy goals of traceability of all transactions are not achieved if there are alternative such as other currencies, voucher systems or cryptocurrencies. In addition, the power of banks, central banks and government organizations increases when it is no longer possible to store cash at home.
Sustainable financial products, labeling and taxonomy
In principle, we FREIE WÄHLER are all for bank customers having the opportunity to consider factors such as environmental protection, governance and social factors when investing. For this purpose, better education of the population on economic topics is suitable. The combination of better education and voluntary labeling makes it possible to achieve the necessary transparency in financial products.
However, we are critical of the “taxonomy” system proposed by the commission, which divides investments such as corporate bonds from government into “sustainable” and “unsustainable” classes. This obligation harbors excessive bureaucracy for banks and companies of all sizes. This particularly applies if suppliers are included in the evaluation.
Stability and Growth Pact (SGP)
We FREIE WÄHLER are committed to reforming the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP). Violations are to be punished and sanctioned by the European Commission. This enables us to achieve greater budgetary discipline and prevent the stability of our monetary union from being dependent on political decisions.
Positions on taxes
Effective fighting of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering
A lot of money flows past the European Member States’ tax authorities. As a result, countries are in greater debt than necessary or many important projects cannot be implemented. We want to change this: We FREIE WÄHLER want to take decisive action against corruption, tax fraud and money laundering internationally and in Europe. We are committed to more cooperation at EU level.
European tax on financial transactions
We want to once again regulate the international financial markets and make our financial system more crisis-proof. However, regulation only make sense on a larger European scale. Therefore, we advocate a European transaction fee at this point. We want to use the income gained from this as additional equity for the EU budget. Private wealth formation and the creation of retirement capital should be exempt from this transaction fee.
However, the financial transaction fee should only be introduced if the cost-effort ratio justifies it.
CO2 tariffs („Carbon Border Tax“)
CO2 tariffs are a comprehensible idea to create a level playing field between national territory and abroad. If European companies must buy CO2 certificates for their products, but non-EU companies do not, fair competition could still be established.
However, we only support this idea if it complies with the WTO and is possible without a lot of bureaucracy. It currently seems unlikely for both requirements to me met.
European minimum wage
We reject uniform Europe-wide minimum wages. The member states are free to introduce them at national level. Tariff autonomy should not be restricted.
Prevention of a European employment agency and unemployment insurance
We FREIE WÄHLER do not want to create an EU agency that takes care of the placement of our unemployed. A European unemployment insurance is also superfluous, and we reject it. It is up to the sovereign member states to carry out this task.
We want more joint coordination but no more competency levies in social policy: We reject the Europeanization of our social systems.
The Federal Cartel Office monitors the competition in Germany as an independent authority. International groups are better monitored by an equivalent authority at EU level. It should make decisions that are as independent and non-political as possible while also combatting market-dominating positions.
Digital companies can particularly easily achieve a monopoly position due to the simple reproducibility of their services. In addition to data protection and consumer regulations, this requires clear competition rules. It must be possible to define external interfaces that competitors of a quasi-monopolist can use.
Services of general interest must not be exposed to competition.