Right-wing extremists plan mass expulsions from Germany

According to research by the news outlet Correctiv, AfD politicians, far-right politicians, selected businesspeople and other guests met in November in a hotel near Potsdam, where they discussed plans to expel millions of people with an immigrant background. Europe's press is outraged, but sees the large demonstrations against right-wing extremism as a hopeful sign.

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Il Fatto Quotidiano (IT) /

AfD showing its dark side

It is now becoming clear what a threat the AfD poses, warns Il Fatto Quotidiano:

“MPs like Matthias Helferich obsessively insist on the concept of 'remigration', post vaguely neo-Nazi AI-generated propaganda posters on social media and produce summaries of the benefits of mass deportations, from savings for the welfare state to lower property prices thanks to population reduction. ... The German ethnic purity fantasies cultivated by the AfD have recently revealed the dark face of the party, which has been under observation by the domestic intelligence service since March 2021 as a 'suspected case' of a threat to the democratic order.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

Pushing the boundaries of what can be said

It's a coup for the AfD and right-wing extremist Martin Sellner that their meeting has been exposed, the taz points out:

“The widespread reporting has inadvertently contributed to the fact that the buzzword 'remigration' is now on everyone's lips. It is the declared aim of Martin Sellner and [AfD-affiliated journalist] Götz Kubitschek to bring this term into the debate and thus push the boundaries of what can be said in order to make it socially acceptable. They have succeeded. ... What previously seemed unthinkable is now perceived as an extreme but nonetheless conceivable idea. Critics are having to take this seriously and react to it, which suddenly makes the idea seem debatable.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

Even support within the CDU

Gazeta Wyborcza looks at how far AfD ideas have penetrated to the centre of society:

“For the Germans, the meeting to which key players of the far-right AfD, its activists and even CDU members who sympathise with them were invited comes as a political shock. ... The presence of members of the CDU and Christian Democratic associations such as the conservative Values Union and the Verein Deutsche Sprache (Union for the German Language) could be an indication that in this party, too, there is a wider circle of those who support the migration policy propagated by the AfD.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

The fatal consequence of a dysfunctional opposition

Lidové noviny explains the growing influence of the AfD as follows:

“For years, a dysfunctional opposition has been one of Germany's fundamental problems. In her 16 years in power, Chancellor Merkel blurred the distinction between government and opposition. One of her favourite expressions was 'there is no alternative'. If you didn't want migrants, a nuclear phase-out or a green transformation, you had no choice but to vote for the AfD, even if that meant voting for radicals with sinister leanings. ... Where is the alternative now? A ban on the AfD? Or traditional parties offering real alternatives to the government?”

The Guardian (GB) /

A ban would be counterproductive

Despite the growing demands since the meeting became public, a ban on the party is not the solution, The Guardian warns:

“Given a high legal bar, that might be very difficult to achieve. Perhaps more importantly, the process would also run the risk of being counterproductive, reinforcing the AfD's anti-establishment credentials at a time when it has acquired significant political momentum. ... The AfD has become a populist 'vent' for a widespread sense of crisis. Addressing that will require greater ambition and imagination from a mainstream political class.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Use the momentum of outrage

This scandal could seriously hurt the AfD, The Spectator comments:

“Last week's news appears to have woken many Germans up to the fact that the AfD is not just a home for dissatisfied right-leaning voters, but a party with the desire - and potentially soon the power - to overturn the democratic basis on which the country has [long] functioned. ... If Scholz, or indeed any other party leader, can successfully capitalise on the disgust the AfD's secret meeting has triggered in Germany, it might just halt the party's seemingly unstoppable rise.”