PDS Protest against the Adoption of the Euro (April 23, 1998)
On April 23, 1998, members of the German Bundestag debated whether Germany should approve the introduction of the common European currency, the Euro. Chancellor Helmut Kohl tried to dispel fears about the new currency and reminded parliament that there had also been doubts before the introduction of the Deutschmark in 1948. During the debate, SPD chancellor candidate Gerhard Schröder declared his support for the Euro but demanded that the common currency be embedded into a framework of European economic, finance, social, and labor market policies. Joschka Fischer of the Greens criticized the fact that no referendum had been held on the introduction of the Euro, and Gregor Gysi of the PDS faulted the Kohl government for being more interested in a Europe of banks, insurance companies, and arms manufacturers than a Europe for wage earners. PDS members of the Bundestag protested with signs saying “Euro – Not This Way!” (below). According to a survey, 59 percent of Germans would have voted against the Euro had a referendum been held. Despite this, the Bundestag approved the introduction of the Euro with a clear majority of 575 to 35, with five abstentions. Photo: Arne Schambeck.