The Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has been expelled from the EU Parliament’s European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group because of its newly-formed “Blue Alliance” with the Austrian Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (Freedom Party of Austria, FPÖ).
The ECR’s main members are the British Conservative Party, Conservative Party, Richard Sulik’s Slovakian Freedom and Solidarity party, Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS), the Danish People’s Party, and the Finns Party (previously known as the True Finns), amongst others.
The AfD, which has two Members of the European Parliament, was first admitted to the ECR in June 2014. The ECR is the parliamentary group of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists (AECR), which is a conservative Europe-wide political party.
One of the two AfD MEPs expelled from the group was Beatrix Von Storch, who last month said police should be able to shoot women and children refugees to prevent them from entering Germany. She later backtracked on her remarks, saying guns should not be used on children “but women are another matter.”
It was however the unveiling of a German-Austrian “Blue Alliance” at a meeting in Düsseldorf in mid-February, which provided the final impetus to expel the AfD from the ECR.
At a conference titled “European Visions—Visions of Europe” held at the Düsseldorf Congress Center, the two parties agreed upon a set of common principles: the closure of their nation’s borders, the drastic reduction of the financial incentives which encourage the invasion, and the abolition of the fundamental right of asylum, which is part of both country’s basic laws.
“What we need,” FPÖ leader Heinz-Christian Strache told the meeting, “is an end to welcoming committees with soup kitchens. Angela Merkel’s stupid invitation culture is to blame [for the disaster],” he told the one thousand delegates at the conference.
“Every day without border controls endangers public safety,” he continued. “We take the people’s concerns seriously, just like the AfD. We would find it highly desirable to see Frauke Petry as Chancellor,” he added, to extended applause. “Together we will be a Europe of nations.”
For her part, AfD National Chairman Frauke Petry said that “a signal has to be sent that Germany will not endlessly receive asylum applications.”
“Being proud of your country is not extremism, and society needs a healthy patriotism,” she said.
It was decided that the parties would in the future work ever more closely together, and Strache added that he had an “open invitation” from Pegida and was looking forward to attending one of their rallies.
He also said that “Islam has never been and is still not part of Europe,” and that, with regard to Turkey’s possible future EU membership, “we people from Vienna know what it means to have survived two Turkish sieges.”
The ECR will vote to kick out the AfD at an April 14 meeting, if they do not quit of their own volition. The Polish PiS’s anger against the AfD was apparently kindled by the AfD’s pro-Russian stance. At the Blue Alliance event, Strache was vocally supportive of Russia, calling for an end to sanctions, and declaring it “part of Europe.”