Ger­man far-right soft­ens po­si­tion on pos­si­ble EU exit

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

— The far-right Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many party is call­ing for Ger­many to leave the Euro­pean Union if it isn’t re­formed, but backed off set­ting a five-year dead­line for ac­tion in a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tion plat­form ap­proved Sun­day.

The na­tion­al­ist and anti-mi­gra­tion Al­ter­na­tive for Ger­many hopes to in­crease its rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the EU leg­is­la­ture in the May 26 elec­tion. The party, known by its Ger­man acro­nym AfD, won seven seats in 2014 but cur­rently holds only one after in­ter­nal di­vi­sions saw its other law­mak­ers leave.

The party plat­form ap­proved by del­e­gates for this year’s elec­tion stated that if the party’s “fun­da­men­tal re­form ap­proaches” can’t be re­al­ized “within a rea­son­able pe­riod,” Ger­many’s with­drawal from the EU or the bloc’s dis­so­lu­tion and the found­ing of a looser Euro­pean eco­nomic al­liance would be “nec­es­sary as a last re­sort,” news agency dpa re­ported.

An ini­tial draft had called for a pos­si­ble Ger­man with­drawal if re­form couldn’t be achieved within one five-year Euro­pean Par­lia­ment term.

Party lead­ers ar­gued against a fixed date at a party con­ven­tion in the eastern town of Riesa. AfD co-leader Alexan­der Gauland said it “is not smart to go into the elec­tion with a max­i­mum de­mand in such a sit­u­a­tion.”

He ar­gued that, if Bri­tain’s planned de­par­ture from the EU in late March causes short-term tur­bu­lence and eco­nomic prob­lems for the British, it could in­flu­ence vot­ers in Ger­many.

Gauland said the chances of re­duc­ing the EU to a purely eco­nomic com­mu­nity are good but it would take more than one par­lia­men­tary term.

AfD en­tered Ger­many’s na­tional par­lia­ment in 2017 and is cur­rently the big­gest op­po­si­tion party there.

Man­fred We­ber, the top EU elec­tion can­di­date for Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s con­ser­va­tive bloc, ear­lier this month la­beled AfD “the Ger­man Brexit party,” say­ing its ap­proach would lead to po­lit­i­cal chaos like Bri­tain has seen and “an eco­nom­i­cally un­sta­ble fu­ture.”

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