Germany: AfD approves its new program: end restrictions, border control and exit from the EU | International

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AfD co-chairs Tino Chrupalla (left) and Joerg Meuthen (right) greeted each other this Saturday at the party congress in Dresden.FILIP SINGER / EFE

When Alternative for Germany (AfD), the German far-right party, was born in 2013, it came out in favor of eliminating the euro in the country. Eight years later and when Germany prepares to go to the polls on September 26, AfD has approved an electoral program where it pronounces, for the first time, in favor of Germany's exit from the European Union. The controversial measure was approved within the framework of a face-to-face federal congress held in Dresden and convened under the slogan “Germany. But normal". A clear majority of the delegates approved the motion that provides for the corresponding modification of the electoral program for the Bundestag elections. In a heated debate, party co-leader Jörg Meuthen, among others, came out against it.

The approved amendment reads: "We consider necessary the withdrawal of Germany from the European Union and the creation of a new economic community and European interests." Meuthen, who holds a seat in the European Parliament for the AfD, vehemently defended the rejection of this motion before delegates and advocated cooperation within the EU with other parties, such as the Hungarian ruling Fidesz party. “The AfD would achieve nothing by declaring its desire to leave. It would be "much wiser" to cooperate with other parties, "Meuthen said.

The AfD's campaign program is 73 pages long, and unsurprisingly, it remains true to itself: founded as an anti-euro party, it again demands the return to the Deutsche Mark, wishes to return to compulsory military service, implement strict border controls and continue to produce energy with coal and nuclear energy. They also declare war on immigration, offer shelter to persecuted Christians and white farmers from South Africa and demand a rapprochement with Putin's Russia.

On the issue of immigration, to which the AfD owes so much, the main critic of Angela Merkel's effort to open the country's borders to almost a million refugees in September 2015, the hard line also prevailed. The party advocates that immigration – including that of skilled workers – be severely restricted and a passage was passed that basically denies the shortage of skilled workers. The "alleged skilled worker shortage" is a "narrative constructed by industry and business associations, as well as other pressure groups," the party says.

The AfD also demands the "rejection of any family reunification for refugees." Critics of this wording pointed out that this was not even legally possible. Thuringian state leader Björn Höcke fought back, noting that the only thing that matters is sending a political message to voters. One delegate reminded colleagues that the AfD is a family party and that such a motion would carry accusations of inhumaneness.

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In another part of its electoral program, the far-right party says that humanitarian admission should only be granted to persons selected by the Bundestag who have a special need for protection, “for whose selection a cultural and religious origin compatible with the German value system and society ”.

In their program for the Bundestag elections on September 26, the delegates also added the following passage: “The Bundeswehr (German Armed Forces) must once again cultivate a strong esprit de corps, its traditions and German values. The virtues of the soldier are honor, loyalty, camaraderie, and bravery. The Bundeswehr must live the best traditions of German military history ”.

Face-to-face congress

In his opening speech, Jörg Meuthen, who chairs the formation together with Tino Chrupalla, accused Chancellor Angela Merkel and the coalition parties of having “step by step destroyed” the country in the last 16 years and declared war frontal to the Greens, whom he labeled as an organization “camouflaged as supposed ecologists”, but representatives of “socialism”. Meuthen also expressed his satisfaction with the fact that his party decided to hold its second federal congress since the beginning of the pandemic in person and before some 600 delegates, a decision intended to demonstrate that there is no need for what he called an "orgy of prohibitions ”derived from the pandemic.

To avoid deepening the division of the party, which has the leaders of the most radical faction at odds with the so-called conservatives, the congress decided to postpone the appointment of the future parliamentary leaders who will succeed Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel, 80 years old.

Chrupalla, a 45-year-old ex-craftsman turned Saxon MP, holds the key to representing the party's toughest wing in Parliament. The other end of the spectrum could be represented by Joana Cotar, a 48-year-old MP in Hesse (west).


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