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'Free Bavaria!' demands veteran politician

The Local · 14 Aug 2012, 07:46

Published: 14 Aug 2012 07:46 GMT+02:00

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The 73-year-old Wilfried Scharnagl, a well-known name within the CSU - the sister-party to Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union - is to publish a book this week entitled "Bavaria Can Go It Alone," the Münchner Merkur reported on Sunday.

"Bavaria," he told the paper, "comes out too badly in context."

That context, laid out in his 191-page tome, is an historical analysis going back to 1871, when Bavaria became part of the new unified German nation. That day, "The Day of Disaster," as Scharnagl calls it in a chapter heading, was when "the kingdom was absorbed into the Prussian-ruled German unified state."

As a result of that fateful move, Bavaria is now in a "stranglehold", held in "double oppression" by Berlin and Brussels, the Bavarian veteran said.

He describes some of Germany's budget arrangements, such as the inter-state fiscal adjustment which distributes tax money among Germany's 16 states, as a "plundering" that consumes billions in Bavarian wealth, while the euro debt crisis reinforces the "lurching between fantasies of power and powerlessness."

He argues that federal measures to balance conditions in Germany have always damaged standards in Bavaria, such as the level of education, which he calls Bavaria's "crown jewel." "I've never known levels to be adjusted upwards," he said.

Scharnagl worked for the CSU's party leadership in Bavaria for many years, and was editor-in-chief of the party's newspaper Bayernkurier for 24 years. He was also considered a close personal advisor to Franz Josef Strauß, former German finance minister and Bavarian state premier from 1978 to 1988.

Scharnagl's word is still said to carry weight within the party, though the new book is likely to alienate some of his political allies. Only the minority separatist Bayernpartei officially supports independence. His own party briefly toyed with the practicalities of independence under state premier Max Streibl in the early 1990s.

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Scharnagl considers his book an important provocation. "It is at least a wake-up call, to say that this state should consider its strengths, its peculiarities, its uniqueness," he told the paper.

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

08:28 August 14, 2012 by The-ex-pat
We are ALL being fleeced by Berlin and Brussels you self important little #§$%.....
08:44 August 14, 2012 by lucksi
But it already is called the free state of Bavaria (Freistaat Bayern), what more does he want?
09:17 August 14, 2012 by wood artist
This sort of discussion always seems to ignore some basic facts. While it is true that any "organization" of states always has "winners" and "losers" in financial distribution, those advocating separation seem to ignore the real costs of changing. While it might be true that Bavaria contributes more than it gets back from Berlin, going it alone would automatically raise the costs of government within Bavaria. For example, they would need to immediately apply to become members of the EU and the Euro zone, assuming they wish to be members. There are big costs there, not to mention all the new laws that would need to be passed to bring them into compliance with the rules. They would need to create a whole new set of ambassadors and consulates, and those people and buildings, spread all around the world, aren't free. They would need to fully fund their own military...to the degree they need such a thing, and they would need to staff military in those new consulates too.

In short, once you start to actually figure out the costs of replacing everything that is provided by Berlin, maybe it doesn't really pencil out.. The easy math is "we send 100 Euros to Berlin, but only get 87 back. Once you start adding all the places those Euros go besides the other states in Germany you discover maybe you're not getting such a bad deal after all.

10:09 August 14, 2012 by Johnne
Well said wood artist, well said.
11:20 August 14, 2012 by laurencelewis
The guy is an idiot. Pay him as much heed as you would any other ageing politician with radical views.
13:06 August 14, 2012 by guerito
We also should have our royal family back. :)
14:11 August 14, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Maybe he was circumcised as a baby and that explains this???
14:27 August 14, 2012 by Sastry.M
Towards end of 19'th century the state of Prussia under chancellor Otto von Bismarck freed all German States from foreign domination and united into German(= people of common ethnic origin) Reich.

Now let the free wealthy Bavarian Herr Wilfried Scharnagl strive to free all fellow Germans from Bailout Reich, instead of demanding state sovereignty.
16:07 August 14, 2012 by IchBinKönig
@Wood smArtist

'For example, they would need to immediately apply to become members of the EU and the Euro zone, assuming they wish to be members.'

20:06 August 14, 2012 by wood artist

He doesn't seem to specifically say either way, so I thought I'd leave the door open. They could save the "application fees" but then they'd need to operate a mint, create their own currency, and then deal with the additional expense of that too. Nothing is ever free, and Governments usually can find a way to pay more than the going rate for the private sector.

03:47 August 15, 2012 by olog-hai
Sounds like he's calling for the Morgenthau Plan. Great idea; break up the EU in its wake so that all the EU-hawks's dreams of a European empire stretching into Africa and Siberia won't come to pass.
03:54 August 16, 2012 by mike_1983

long live schones bayern!
06:07 August 16, 2012 by cheeba
I would think they would be the last ones to want to join the EU or euro zone, my guess is they would look to Switzerland as their model.
08:43 August 16, 2012 by AlexR
Yes, free Bavaria from Berlin and Brussels and make it like Switzerland. Oh wait, there is one 'slight' problem : Switzerland has trillions of francs in its banks from the world's rich, Bavaria doesn't.

And some more 'minor' problems: Freeing Bavaria from "Berlin and Brussels" means that he wants them to leave Germany *and* the EU/Eurozone. The day after they do that, hundreds of major companies in which the Bavarian economy is based on, will plan their relocation to other parts of Germany or EU, because if they stay it will be more difficult for them to do the same business with the rest of Europe. Bye bye Siemens, Adidas, BMW, Allianz etc. As a consequence, Lufthansa will move its hub from Munich to the new Berlin airport. A far-fetched scenario you say? Possibly yes, but not more far-fetched than the one in the article.

Trillions will be lost but who is counting? Certainly not the "respected old-timer in CSU Wilfried Scharnagl". Ah well... the Bavarians can then spent their extra free time yodeling in the Alps.
15:54 August 16, 2012 by cheeba
Maybe, but on the other hand, when was the last time a big Swiss multinational fled to the "safety" of the euro zone? think of Nestlé, Novartis, Roche, Credit Suisse, Richemont, ABB, why did ABB chose Zurich over Stockholm after the merger? there are far more EU firms and high earners flocking to CH than the other way around. just sayin....
22:31 August 16, 2012 by AlexR
You are partially right but let's not forget two very important factors:

1. As I've already mentioned in the beginning of my comment. Switzerland has a very big chunk of the world's wealth in its banks. Bavaria doesn't.

2. All those companies you've mentioned are historically considered Swiss, even though they are multinational now. Imagine the Swiss public backlash if the headquarters of Nestlé move to Berlin. However, the companies in Bavaria, Siemens, Adidas, BMW, Allianz, are first and foremost considered by the Germans and the rest of the world, German companies, not Bavarian. If Bavaria becomes free and independent, I don't think that any of the above companies, would keep its headquarters in Bavaria and be labeled as "Bavarian". The will relocate to Germany. After all, the "Made in Germany" is still the very strong branding, that "Made in Bavaria" will never be.
00:02 August 17, 2012 by cheeba
I can agree with some of that, but why would "made in Bavaria" never be a strong brand? made in Switzerland holds its own next to made in Germany, I would say. Would the car company, when it moved away become DMW?

Anyway quite a few German companies have sold out to foreigners in these past few decades, Aral, Hoechst, DASA, HypoVeirensbank to name a few

I'm not holding my breath though, we all know the CSU is going to make every xenophobic suggestion they can till this time next year, then all will be forgotten.
00:19 August 17, 2012 by IchBinKönig
@ AlexR

' I don't think that any of the above companies, would keep its headquarters in Bavaria and be labeled as "Bavarian". The will relocate to Germany. After all, the "Made in Germany" is still the very strong branding, that "Made in Bavaria" will never be. '

Exactly the type of insightful nuanced commentary I come to theLocal.de for. I guess that's why Bavarian Motor Works has been such a failure.
05:17 August 17, 2012 by Lextar
Word of tomorow belongs to big players with great economies of scale as China, Usa, India, and Brasilia. Germany just can't run space exploration program big enouch to compete with China or USA. So Germany will lost future economic space race, lost shares in space market with is key for human future. How many markets Germany will lost beacose it is to small to compete? Every country has allways two roads, integrete or disintegrate. Germany can integrate, as was made before. Germany can set true comon european market, can create comon curency and unite Europe for comon good. Then germany need to invest a lot of money, and invest smart beacose Germany will take most profits, or most loss. Like in bussines. Germany can disintegrate in the name of Balkanisation of Germany. Let every germany state to set its own curency, own borders, let everyone be independent. No more fiscal transfer beetween states so bavaria can be happy and richer? Will be? No. Bavaria industrial base will not egsist without open external market, Bavaria wealth will not egsist without external market. Bavaria will be to strong dependent on external market. Look deeper. But why Munchen must do fiscal transfers to other relative poor parts of Free Bavaria, let establish free Munchen Town, with own curency, goverment, and independence, But why richer parts of Town, must pay for poor one? Let set independence for richer parts. And all will finish as a new poor tribes without any economy of scale. Every one is talking about euro crisis but for me it is crissis of external dependency of integrated wealthy economies without policy union to manage this dependency. I can't understand how German politic can suport idea of balkanisation of germany. Creation of free bavaria. I can't understand why people don't see that big players set rules of the game, that everyone else must to play. USA create petrodolar, artifical demand for its paper, its dolar. No mater Germany, or Bavaria everyone need to buy dolar to buy oil. This is rule of stronger. Freelunch for USA. People say switzerland is rich and small. So my answer is, it is rich beacose global economic system created mainly by USA, let them be free and rich. This system can't be taken for granted. Last time USA decided that Switzerland can't keep its bank account holder anonymus, so Switzerland done what USA told them to do. Now, Switzerland loss money from their banks, to other more annonymus banking destinations. Biger can more. Question is, is country independent when folow advice from other countries against its interest?
06:49 August 17, 2012 by AlexR

"Exactly the type of insightful nuanced commentary I come to theLocal.de for. I guess that's why Bavarian Motor Works has been such a failure."

Exactly the type of "insightful nuanced commentary" I come to expect from you. You should patent them. Ask anyone outside Germany if he/she knows what BMW stands for. Very few will tell you that it means Bavarian Motor Works. Even the ones they do, BMW for most of the people/media/encyclopedias is considered *German*, not Bavarian.

Now, if you look a little further away from the names and focus to the economy of the subject (which is the main reason that Scharnagl wants Bavaria to be "free", isn't it?), you could easily see that BWM is not Bavarian, not even German anymore. It's a multinational company which owns the typical British Mini marque and Rolls-Royce, the typical Swedish Husqvarna and has subsidiaries worldwide. Bavarian, you say?

And if you look even further, you will see that in the era of globalization and strong competition, the only way for the companies to survive is to merge and expand. And this applies also to the local/national entities, no matter if you (or I) like it or not. That was the main reason behind the establishment of the EC and the Eurozone later.

If you think that Bavaria, with its population of 12 million, could be "free" and compete against Germany (minus Bavaria) of 70 million, Europe of 740 million and China of 1.35 billion people, then be my guest.
14:11 August 17, 2012 by cheeba
if this national economy of scale is true, why is South Korea doing so well?
19:10 August 17, 2012 by Hoeckf
Bayern did not want to be part of Prussia. The Prussians killed Koeng Ludwig II to force Bayern into Prussia. What did we get, wars. Bayern can survive on her own.

22:31 August 17, 2012 by Lextar
To Hoeckf.

I don't belive free bayern will be strong enouch to secure its wealthy future.

I. Monetary atack..

1. Chines goverment and (independent) bussines buy "Bayern State" curency Bayern Mark.

2. Bayern Curency cover 430 bilion economy, relative small. Bayern Mark is going up. Bayern export in danger.

3. Bayern Goverment need to decide

a) lost export and manufacturing.

b) start print money.

4. Chinse start sell Bayern Mark.

a) Bayern Mark hit botom as is not real industry standing behind it.

b) China Bayern Marks comeback to Bayern, hiperinflation in Bayern State.

5. Bayern state goes bankrupt.

6. Chinse take a loss.

7. Chinse buy bankrupt bayern.


1. Chinse goverment to charge BMW for steal chinse auto makers technology. :D

2. Chinse goverment ban BMW from selling cars in Asia Free Market.

3. Chinse goverment nationalize BMW factories in China.

4. China press affrica union to ban BMW sales.

5. European Union made good deal with Chinse, European President told that european comunity work only with solidarity. Bayern left allone.

6. China restructure America debt, BMW sales baned.

7. BMW goes bankrupt.

8. Bayern open BMW car museum and wait for rich turist from china.

I know it is not fair, but this is how world is working.

1. Bayern drugs kill. - Say Rupert Mardoch.

2. Word panic, sales of bayern drugs sink.

3. Bayern fill for bankrupcy.

4. Bayern drugs was the best, but that wasn't mater.

5. Rupert Mardoch friend buy bayern drug patents.


European Comision of transport decided that inovative system of powering cars designed in Bavaria is to danger to be used on european roads. Bavarians insted need buy special patentet fuel with is produced in hanburg, if they want travel outside bavria.


Chines start Jupiter mining.


European Union invest half trilion euros in growth of european space port in guyana.

Bayern is looking for location for its first spaceport.

Space industry is booming world wide.

Bayern think to invest astronomicaly 50 bilion euros in its first space port.

Bayern space port plans rejected, bayern lost compettition with european guyana.

Bayern pay europe for use its space port.

Bayern Munich win Bayern footbal leage, as it did during last ten years.

No one word wide, want to watch Bayern Footbla Leage even for free.

Bayern football team ranked 28 wordwide.
22:46 August 17, 2012 by AlexR

"if this national economy of scale is true, why is South Korea doing so well?"

Could it be because South Korea has a population of 50 million as opposed to 12 millions in Bavaria?

Could it be because of the advantageous geopolitical position of South Korea, being the only highly developed nation together with Japan in whole Asia? They both now feel the breath of China. Bavaria won't have that advantage. It will be surrounded by many highly developed European nations.

And finally, could it be because the Koreans are working the longest hours as opposed to the Germans, according to the OECD data? The average annual hours actually worked per a Korean worker were 2193, the second longest from all the OECD countries. In contrast, the Western Germans (and that includes the Bavarians) have worked the least from any other OECD nation except of the Netherlands, with only 1393 hours in 2010.

22:58 August 17, 2012 by Lextar
South Korea, have relative chip labur compared to germany, i was read somewhere that their goverment is ruled by very strong corporations, i think they heavy invest in education, science and research. They are very competice, high quality of goverment.Probably very strong suport from goverment to corporations. Law write to strenchen corporations. Anyway south korea is a country, witch should be egzamined as possible template for run 300mln people euro economy.

Nokia was the greatest, but things change.

Question is will South Korea not lost competition with big influential worwide China.
17:41 August 18, 2012 by cheeba
It is this suggestion that states must be large to compete with one another that I question. What difference does it really make how big the host country is? Nestlé competes quite successfully against Kraft and general mills of the US or Ferrero of Italy (read EU) if the host countries currency becomes too strong they build some plants overseas. bombardier of Canada (population 32 million) is thriving building trains and smaller aircraft while EU competitors like Dornier crash and burn, or for that matter (in the case of trains) the EU (population many hundreds of millions) competitors have even been gobbled up by the baby country's bombardier.

If the Bavarian currency would be so big a problem, perhaps they might choose a manageable currency union with the Swiss , the Swiss have already welcomed Liechtenstein after all.
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