Sahra Wagenknecht (C) poses with her team prior to the founding press conference of her new party Alliance Sahra Wagenknecht (BSW) in Berlin, Germany, 08 January 2024. EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER


Germany’s new party BSW comes out all guns blazing


BSW, Sahra Wagenknecht’s new left-wing faction in Germany, has presented its draft European Union programme.

The party said it wanted to “trim down” the EU, do away with most of its climate policies and “improve relations” with Russia, in its manifesto on January 16.

The title of “biggest Eurosceptic party in Germany” can go to BSW, observers say, with a programme that would likely make left-liberal progressives faint if its policies were to become reality.

The party is highly critical of the EU and calls for its reconstruction: “The EU in its current constitution harms the European idea,” the BSW electoral draft stated.

Instead, its members want a return of “subsidiarity”.

“What can be better and more democratically regulated locally, regionally, or nationally should not be left to the regulatory zeal of EU technocracy,” its manifesto said.

If necessary, BSW advocates that Germany should “not adhere” to EU rules. The party said it wanted “non-implementation of EU requirements at the national level if they run counter to economic rationality, social justice, peace, democracy, and freedom of opinion”.

The demand seems to resemble increasing calls for opt-outs, often expressed by migration-sceptic groups that see mass migration as an existential crisis. In light of that, many want countries to be able to get rid of European legislation forcing nations to accept an increasing number of migrants.

Regarding migration, the BSW draft outlines the party’s desire that asylum procedures take place at the EU’s external borders or in third countries, saying it wanted to address the “root causes” of migration.

Wagenknecht’s group further said the EU budget should not continue to grow and no new members should be admitted for the time being, including Ukraine.

A “moratorium on EU expansion” is deemed necessary, BSW said.

The draft also pleaded that: “Europe must become an independent actor on the world stage, rather than a pawn in the conflict of great powers and a vassal of the USA.”

Europe should also “no longer be a digital colony of the United States” and requires an independent digital infrastructure, it stated.

On Ukraine, the programme claimed: “The war in Ukraine is a bloody proxy war between NATO and Russia.”
While the conflict was “militarily initiated by Russia, it could have been prevented by the West and could have been ended long ago”. It added.

BSW said a ceasefire and peace negotiations were necessary “to motivate Russia to enter into negotiations.

It added that, to achieve such, “an immediate halt to all arms exports to Ukraine should be offered in this case”.

If BSW wins any election, Sahra Wagenknecht’s political party clearly intends to tear down the current climate-protection regulations.

For example, it suggested abolishing the trade in CO2 certificates. “This certificate trading is completely unsuitable for achieving climate policy goals,” the new party’s European election programme draft stated.

Additionally, it called for the unrestricted use of combustion engines and a return to importing oil and gas from Russia “in the long term”.

So-called “Cancel Culture” is also an important BSW issue, it seems.

“In the attitude of a modern ‘Ministry of Truth’, many politicians and journalists, or the so-called fact-checkers, today claim the authority to determine what is right and what is wrong,” the manifesto said.

Part of this Cancel Culture is, it said, the EU’s Digital Services Act, which, according to BSW, needs to be repealed.

The party, established just after 2024 dawned, plans to take part in the June 9 European elections. A debate on its programme draft is planned for January 27, before a party congress.

The BSW lead candidate for the party in the European vote will be Fabio De Masi.

By the German general election in 2025, it plans that a detailed programme will have been developed by its members and “experts”.

Time will tell.