Posted on May 26, 2024

AfD Expelled From Right-Wing Identity and Democracy Group in European Parliament

Thomas Brooke, Remix, May 23, 2023

The right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) parliamentary group in the European Parliament has expelled its Alternative for Germany (AfD) delegation just two weeks before the European elections.

A motion was filed for a vote among member parties on Thursday to banish the German party over claims it had brought the group into disrepute.

Ongoing concerns came to a head this week following an interview from AfD MEP Maximilian Krah with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, during which the German politician suggested that not all members of the Schutzstaffel (SS), the paramilitary organization affiliated with the Nazi Party during World War II, should be classified as war criminals.

Krah qualified his response to a leading question by the left-wing newspaper by acknowledging that “there was certainly a high percentage of war criminals among them,” but insisted that some were farmers or conscripts from occupied territories and that their guilt should be judged on an “individual basis.”

The remarks outraged former French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen and her National Rally party leader Jordan Bardella who publicly denounced the AfD and refused to continue working with them in the next European Parliament.

Her concerns were shared by Italy’s Lega party leader Matteo Salvini and led on Thursday to the ID group filing a motion to exclude the German delegation.

A last-ditch attempt to salvage the situation was initiated by Krah’s fellow AfD European lawmakers, who called on the party to expel Krah rather than exile the whole party.

Krah had also announced he would step back from campaigning for the remainder of the European elections and resigned from the AfD’s executive board. However, attempts to diffuse the situation proved to be unsuccessful.

“We have expelled the German delegation with immediate effect,” said the Italian party Lega, as cited by Zeit Online. The chairman of the ID group is Marco Zanni, a member of Salvini’s party.

“The ID group no longer wants to be associated with the incidents surrounding Maximilian Krah, the AfD’s top candidate for the European elections,” the party added.

“I voted to throw out Krah as he has been the problem in this case and also previously with several things like Russia-China questions,” said Estonian MEP Jaak Madison, but added that he “did not support punishing all the Germans.”

The AfD is understood to be contesting the expulsion process over claims the vote by the Czech delegation, Tomio Okamura’s Freedom and Direct Democracy party, was invalid. It argues the party did not give an unequivocal answer to the question stated in the motion.

Without the Czech vote, the motion would not have been carried after failing to be approved by the required five-party threshold, as per the parliamentary group’s rules.