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HomeEuropeGerman Far Right Picks EU Lead Candidate, Wants European Anti-Migrant ‘Fortress’

German Far Right Picks EU Lead Candidate, Wants European Anti-Migrant ‘Fortress’

Germany’s increasingly popular far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party elected the controversial MEP Maximilian Krah as its lead candidate for next year’s European Parliament election, while vowing to challenge the EU from the inside and turn it into a “fortress” against migrants.

More than 65 percent of the about 600 AfD delegates at a party gathering on Saturday in Magdeburg, in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, voted for Krah as their lead candidate for the European Parliament election, which will take place June 6-9 next year.

“We are now the most exciting right-wing party in all of Europe,” Krah said in his speech in Magdeburg. He argued that the AfD — which advocates anti-migration, climate change-denying, Russia-friendly and deeply Euroskeptic positions — would not “adapt” to less radical stances in order to attract more voters or form alliances, as other right-wing parties would allegedly do.

Krah, 46, has been a lawmaker in the European Parliament since 2019, where he is a member of the trade committee and the Delegation to the United States, as well as the subcommittees on human rights and security and defense. Earlier this year, he sparked controversy by a potential contract fraud: Although Krah denies the allegations, the case was transferred to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), which could bring criminal charges against him.

Delegates at the party convention in Magdeburg also voted in favor of the AfD officially joining the far-right and Euroskeptic Identity & Democracy group (ID) in the European Parliament. Individual AfD MEPs like Krah are already members of the ID, but by joining the group as an entire party the influence and funding of the far right in parliament is poised to increase further.

“Joining the ID group was a right and logical step,” Krah said, adding that he wanted the group “to become so strong that in the next legislative period it will no longer be possible to form such a cordon sanitaire against us, but that we will have a say” in the assembly. He was referring to a decision by established parties following the last European election in 2019 to set up an alliance to ban far-right MEPs from being elected to decisive positions in Parliament.

Krah also accused the EU of “over-regulating” domestic politics, but most of his comments have been focused on national issues such as vowing to increase the income of workers. He claimed that too much of workers’ taxes is spent “on climate, on gender politics, on immigration” and on support for Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s aggression.

The AfD has in recent months risen significantly in German national polls, where it is now at the second position at 20 percent, two percentage points ahead of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) and seven percentage points behind Germany’s main center-right opposition party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

It is still uncertain, however, whether the AfD will be able to maintain this all-time high in voter support as it is currently benefiting from general discontent in Germany over high energy prices, the inflation as well as the mediocre performance of the government, which has spent much of past months with infighting between Scholz’s SPD and its coalition partners, the Greens and the business-friendly Free Democrats.

Yet AfD co-party leader Alice Weidel struck an optimistic tone on Saturday, saying that the party would “continue to improve” its results ahead of the European elections and upcoming regional elections in the eastern German states of Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia next year.

Switching to European politics, Weidel said that her party wants to turn the EU into “a fortress” against migrants “to protect our homeland, and we do that together with our European partners.”

She accused the EU of being “deeply undemocratic and overreaching,” and advocated for the common far-right position that there should be “a Europe of fatherlands” and a repatriation of EU competences to national politics “where the elected representatives of the people sit in the parliaments.”

Her remarks, which essentially undermine the competency and legitimacy of EU lawmakers like the AfD’s lead candidate Krah, may sound involuntarily comical but go along with the party’s contradictory line of seeking to broad support in European elections while at the same time opposing the European Union.

The AfD’s draft EU election program says that “our patience with the EU is exhausted,” and adds that “we therefore seek the orderly dissolution of the EU and instead want to establish a new European economic and interest community, a federation of European nations.”

The party leadership already announced that this paragraph will likely be softened in the final election program, which is to be adopted at a later stage. Still, the other AfD co-leader, Tino Chrupalla, said in Magdeburg that “there must be the possibility of an exit, an orderly exit from the EU.”

The party meeting will continue next weekend with the election of more candidates for the European election.

Source : Politico

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