If there was a course correction, it was carried out in economic and financial policy, albeit not as a radical reversal: neither Reaganomics nor Thatcherism would assert themselves on the Rhine., which had been the decisive demands for Wende. Also favored by international economic factors, the new restructuring course laid the foundations for a long boom, which continued in the early 1990s.
However, German public opinion was shaken by a series of events, from the further stages of the party funding scandal to violent anti-nuclear demonstrations, especially following the Chernobyl disaster. However, both the economic recovery and the disappearance of the alarming international and inter-German scenarios envisaged by the opposition contributed to a reconfirmation of the Christian-liberal coalition in the January 1987 elections, with Christian Democratic losses and a clear liberal recovery, while the SPD, oscillating against the Verdi and the other “new corporate movements” suffered a further decline, particularly in the economically more modern and dynamic centers. On the other hand, the reduced participation in the polls and the increase of the Greens.
An issue that, despite the persistence of the favorable economic situation, was occupying an increasing space in the debate, arousing very strong emotions, was that of immigration. The number of foreigners in the BRD reached 4.8 million, now equal to 7.7% of the resident population, with a strong concentration in large cities, with peaks of up to 25% (Frankfurt).
According to THEMOTORCYCLERS.COM, the immigration pressure was not only contributed by the arrival from the Third World and Eastern European countries (100,000 in 1985) of foreign workers, their families and the Asylanten (people seeking political asylum, largely driven by dramatic economic conditions in the countries of origin, of which less than a tenth were recognized as political exiles by the German authorities), but also the repatriation of Germans and persons of German origin from the USSR and from countries of eastern and south-eastern Europe (Aussiedler: 86,000 in 1987; 202,000 in 1988) and the arrival of Germans from the GDR (Umsiedler and refugees), a total of 110,000 in the years 1985-88. All this brought out, especially in the case of Turkish and extra-European immigration, the clash of very different forms of life, made more severe by the unpreparedness of the popular strata more directly involved, by the lack of a tradition in matters of immigration, but above all by a widespread fear mixed with envy, in areas of economic crisis, determined by uncertainty and resentment towards immigrants, foreigners or repatriated Germans (with their problems of adaptation to Western society), as presumed competitors for the job or for the dwelling.
From this reaction, punctuated by episodes of violence and racism, the agitation of the new party of the Republikaners drew nourishment, which arose from a small dissidence from the CSU and later transformed, under the leadership of the right-handed journalist F. Schönhuber, into a movement of nationwide protest of a populist, authoritarian and above all xenophobic character. In January 1989 the Republikaner they reaped a resounding success in the elections in West Berlin (7.5% of the votes and 11 seats), winning votes especially in the most popular neighborhoods. They proved capable of reaching, in addition to environments traditionally sensitive to a right-wing or nationalist protest, also parts of the Social Democratic electorate. They confirmed this in the elections to the European Parliament in June 1989, gathering the most disparate protests, from the nationalist one to the peasant one to the anti-immigrant one, winning 6 seats; their greatest successes, however, were obtained in the prosperous South (14.6% in Bavaria). The issue of immigration remains highly controversial: against attempts to facilitate integration, with the recognition of different cultures,
Contrary to the first two, the third European elections were characterized by a more marked contrast in terms of European integration, around the prospect of 1992: opposed, for opposite reasons, on the one hand the Republikaner and the DVU (Deutsche Volksunion, which gathered, under the slogan “Germany first, then Europe”, another 1.7%) and the Greens on the other; the Liberals (who managed to return to Strasbourg) and the Christian Democrats, on the other hand, were decidedly in favor of substantial progress in political unification, while the SPD put the whole emphasis on the request for social corrections to the Single Market and the Charta social. However, like the other states, the European elections were also valid in the BRD as a thermometer of the internal political climate. The bad result of the CDU and CSU was to be interpreted as an indication of a serious crisis of confidence in the Christian Democratic leadership, particularly aggravated by the scandal for illegality committed in the 1987 regional electoral campaign by the chancellery of the outgoing government (CDU) of Schleswig-Holstein, which he allegedly This was followed by the suicide of former prime minister U. Barschel and a resounding victory by the SPD in the early elections of 1988.
But not even the main opposition party, the SPD, once it abandoned the programmatic and personal political legacy of Schmidt immediately after 1982, was able to recover in a decisive way in those years: the great experiment of a “ red-green ” regional government ‘in Hesse, set up as an antithetical model to the federal one in Bonn, it had broken on the rock of nuclear power in 1987, to lead to the passage of this Land, after 42 years of social democratic government, to a Christian-liberal coalition; nor had social democracy succeeded in reabsorbing the Greens. Furthermore, the geography of its strongholds tended more and more to coincide with the economically less dynamic areas of the BRD. A certain reworking of the line in a centrist sense, underlined by the formation of an SPD-FDP government in Hamburg (the first after the 1982 trauma), has not had any particular consequences so far. In this situation, the question was raised again in 1989 whether the centripetal and efficient West German three-party system was about to disintegrate, with the emergence of consistent and extreme oppositions, neutral-pacifist and alternative on the one hand, national -populists on the other. The rapid decline of the Republikaner, grappling with personal issues and neo-Nazi influences, in 1990, but also the increasingly frequent signs of internal crisis of the Greens, divided between ” fundamentalists ” and ” realists ”, between movementist aspirations and parliamentary practice, by far the extent of their challenges to the political system and centrist orientation of the BRD.