Geman General Election 2013

The analysis of German election manifestos showed one significant feature. With the exception of the NPD, the discourses of parliamentary political parties related to national identity are extremely stable. However, the parties mythologize national history rarely. With regard to this topic there are two major fault lines dividing the parties; and one less significant one.
European and immigrant/integration policy are the two most significant issues in the current context of German politics. However, the parliamentary parties do not see either issue as a cause of social division, they have different policy priorities. Although the German political context has been shaped by the so called European integration consensus, a party that rejects the European integration is not present. Interestingly, during the analysed period, changing understanding of European integration has been evident. Although political parties claim that they support supranational integration, the substance is changing. Left parties emphasise supranational integration in its social and civic dimensions. It is necessary for further integration, they claim. Therefore, the economic integration is subordinate to the social one. This shift is observed particularly in the case of the Greens. It is interesting how the CDU has abandoned its original support for integration; in particularly in the last manifesto mention of supranational integration was lacking. Although the parties have different substantial policy priorities, the consensus on EU policy is the most important shaping factor of German EU politics.
Immigration policy shows similar trends to European policy. During the SPD/Greens coalition between 1998 and 2005 official immigrant policy changed significantly. The relevant political parties understood that Germany was a target country for immigrants coming from outside of Europe. Although the CDU tried, and in some way still tries to leave immigration policy outside of mainstream political discussion, the policy of each party has changed dramatically. This is one of the reasons that none of the parliamentary parties do not oppose immigration but rather stress their integration into society. The differences between parties is in how they want to integrate them; if the goal is to fully integrate them into German society, or if they want to respect immigrants’ rights as regards religion and culture in Germany as well. Although this is not the key differentiating issue, its relevance will probably rise with time.
The last feature that slightly differentiates the German political parties is the will to spread German best practices on the European level. Although left parties accused Chancellor Merkel for aiming to nationalize the EU, all parties mention that they want German practices to be enacted on the EU level; e.g. federal structure of decision making, social-market economy, currency stability (such as the Deutschmark had before the advent of the Euro). The strength of this perception varies from low (Die Linke) to very evident (CDU; SPD). In spite of the above differences, the perception of national identity issues reflects a high level of consensus within society.