Far-right AfD to cam­paign on Ger­man EU exit

Kuwait Times - - International -

RIESA: Ger­man far-right party AfD voted yes­ter­day to cam­paign for Ber­lin’s exit from the EU in the up­com­ing Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions if its de­mand for re­forms within the bloc are not met. The de­ci­sion marks the first time any party has called for “Dexit” — a Ger­man de­par­ture from the EU in the mould of Brexit. If the EU is not re­shaped in line with the party’s ideas “in an ap­pro­pri­ate time­frame”, Ger­many must leave the bloc, ac­cord­ing to the draft man­i­festo agreed by del­e­gates at a party con­gress in east­ern Sax­ony state.

Con­gress at­ten­dees also voted through a call to abol­ish the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment — the very Brus­sels body the AfD can­di­dates will be cam­paign­ing to join this spring. “We see na­tion­states as hav­ing the ex­clu­sive com­pe­tence to make laws,” the text read, blast­ing the “751 priv­i­leged mem­bers” of the present Euro­pean house. While both de­mands are now in the draft man­i­festo, a fi­nal vote later Sun­day will adopt or re­ject the en­tire cam­paign pack­age. Elec­tions for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment will take place in May.

AfD was orig­i­nally founded as a euroscep­tic party, but rose to its cur­rent strength and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Ger­many’s na­tional par­lia­ment after right-wingers took over and switched its fo­cus to op­pos­ing Is­lam and im­mi­gra­tion. Like other na­tion­al­ist move­ments around the con­ti­nent, its lead­ers ar­gue too much power has been trans­ferred to Brus­sels, say­ing the EU has far out­grown its ori­gins in eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion.

“We don’t need to abol­ish the EU, but bring it back to its sen­si­ble core,” AfD leader Alexan­der Gauland told del­e­gates Satur­day ahead of the vote, say­ing the party “has part­ners that would walk the path with us” like Aus­tria’s FPOe or Italy’s Lega. Con­cerned about scar­ing off po­ten­tial vot­ers in ma­jor­ity pro-EU Ger­many, party chiefs warned the con­gress against even harder pro­pos­als that would have called for an exit if AfD’s re­form de­mands were not im­posed by 2024. — AFP

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