European Parliament: Decision to expel the AfD from the EU parliamentary group

European Parliament
AfD expelled from EU parliamentary group

In addition to the Italian Lega, the ID faction in the EU Parliament also includes Marine Le Pen’s French RN party. Photo

© Philipp von Ditfurth/dpa

For the AfD, one low blow follows the next. Right-wing allies in the European Parliament are setting an example shortly before the European elections.

All AfD MEPs have been expelled from the right-wing ID group in the European Parliament. A corresponding request from parliamentary group leader Marco Zanni received the necessary support, said several parliamentary group representatives of the German Press Agency in Brussels.

Previously, statements by AfD MP and European election lead candidate Maximilian Krah about the SS had sparked sharp criticism. The AfD leadership was nevertheless confident that it would find partners in the European Parliament after the European elections.

The adopted decision states that in view of “the series of incidents in which Mr Maximilian Krah and thus also the German delegation of the group were involved and in view of the fact that these incidents have damaged the cohesion and reputation of the group”, the membership of the members of the German delegation will be terminated with immediate effect. The names of all nine AfD MEPs are listed.

AfD delegation leader calls for a hearing

The exclusion of the AfD MPs is primarily symbolic, as Parliament will not meet again until after the European elections in two weeks. The parliamentary groups may then be re-formed.

The motion to exclude the party was voted on in a written procedure within the parliamentary group. According to the information, the Italian Lega, the French RN party of Marine Le Pen, the Flemish Vlaams Belang, the Danish People’s Party and the Czech Freedom and Direct Democracy party voted in favor. The Austrian FPÖ and an Estonian party voted against.

The German AfD delegation leader Christine Anderson had previously tried to prevent the decision and demanded a hearing. She also submitted a motion, supported by six other AfD MPs in the ID parliamentary group, to exclude only Krah. Only AfD MP Joachim Kuhs did not support it.

Negative headlines about the AfD in recent weeks

The reason for the motion by ID parliamentary group leader Marco Zanni was the numerous negative headlines that have been made about the AfD in recent weeks. For example, the party leadership banned its own top candidate Krah from appearing on Wednesday after the SS comments. In addition, the 47-year-old from Saxony is under pressure because of the espionage scandal involving an employee and because of his proximity to Russia and China. The number two on the AfD European list, Petr Bystron, will also not be campaigning for the time being following corruption investigations.

The French Rassemblement National had already terminated its cooperation with the AfD before the exclusion process. RN party leader Jordan Bardella said on Tuesday on broadcaster TF1: “I think that the AfD, with whom we have worked in the European Parliament for five years, has crossed lines that are red lines for me.” After the election you will have new allies and will no longer sit on the side of the AfD.

An interview with Krah in the Italian newspaper “La Repubblica” and the “Financial Times” had previously made headlines. In this, the AfD politician was asked about the National Socialist SS and said: “I will never say that everyone who wore an SS uniform was automatically a criminal.” When asked whether the SS were war criminals, he replied: “There were certainly a high percentage of criminals, but not all of them were criminals.” He did not mention that Adolf Hitler’s Schutzstaffel, among other things, guarded and managed the concentration camps and was largely responsible for war crimes.

AfD leaders confident: Will find partners

The AfD leadership took note of the decision. “Nevertheless, we are optimistic about election night and the days that follow,” said party leaders Alice Weidel and Tino Chrupalla in Berlin. The AfD is striving to ensure a strong group in the European Parliament with a strengthened delegation. “In order to have a political impact in Brussels, cooperation with closely related parties is essential. We are therefore confident that we will have reliable partners at our side in the new legislative period,” stressed Weidel and Chrupalla.

The parliamentary manager of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, sharply criticized the fact that Krah remained the number 1 candidate on the list. “This is all a huge voter deception and political scam,” Mast told the “Tagesspiegel”. As long as Krah does not swear under oath that he will not accept a mandate after the election, he will be elected with the AfD. “No matter what impression is tried to be created – the AfD knew from the start what his views were and voted him number 1 on their list,” Mast added.


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