AfD expelled from ID group just before EU elections:

The rift had already been obvious for some time, and then on Thursday the AfD was excluded from the Identity and Democracy group in the EU Parliament. Marine Le Pen's Rassemblement National and Matteo Salvini's Lega were the driving forces behind the move, which was reportedly triggered by remarks by the AfD's lead candidate in the EU elections, Maximilian Krah, in which he downplayed the crimes of the SS during World War II. What comes next for Europe's far right?

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La Repubblica (IT) /

A cheap ploy

For La Repubblica, Le Pen's approach lacks credibility and will not necessarily lead to an alliance with the conservatives:

“As if the credibility of the new European radical right in 2024 were based on it not sharing a German neo-Nazi's positive assessment of the SS. The truth is that there are other differences, as history has taught us. In France, the right, or rather the centre-right movement led by General De Gaulle, never wanted to have anything to do with with those who were nostalgic for the Vichy regime. In other words, with the collaborators of Pétain, the roots of Le Pen's movement. ... This is not the shadow of a distant past, since it refers to the post-war period. ... The furrow was and still is deep.”

The Spectator (GB) /

A strong EU without an all-powerful Germany

The Spectator sees the rupture as part of the bid to weaken Germany's polar position in the bloc:

“Germany has dominated the EU from the start, and weak and incompetent leadership has angered and embittered voters across the bloc. ... Orbán's stated goal is to 'make Europe great again', a goal shared by Meloni and Le Pen. They believe that Germany has had its day and that German politicians - of all colours - are nothing but trouble. For them, the election on 9 June is about creating a new Europe in which the Germans do not feature.” (ES) /

A pact with the EPP suspects collusion between the conservatives and the far right:

“A major political manoeuvre is currently underway in which the Italian and Spanish far right could join the mainstream parties to prevent the socialist group from taking over the EU Commission and its broad structure of power and influence. The German AfD would be excluded from this operation. The project has good prospects of success. ... If it does work out, the PP and Vox will be in the same group in the EU Parliament. And there are those who might think that this would be a first step towards an understanding in Spain as well.”

Expresso (PT) /

Pro-European xenophobes gaining ground

Expresso predicts that the far right will emerge strenghtened from the elections:

“This will be the manifestation of a profound change in the EU. ... The strengthening of the far right will not bring about the end of the European project. To believe that would be to believe that those who lead these parties don't have a power project but only irrational impulses. But on the contrary, everything points to a split in the far-right space and the strengthening of the 'pro-European' camp that includes xenophobic forces that want to use Europe's power to push through their own agenda.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Getting rid of a disruptive element

La Repubblica sees the move as part of a plan to form a new parliamentary group to the right of the EPP:

“The consolidation of the European right is a joint project for Marine Le Pen, who aims to become French president, and for Giorgia Meloni, who is now making an electoral gamble by turning her back on the major parties that govern Europe. Matteo Salvini, who had already excluded the AfD from the Identity and Democracy Party congress in Rome on 21 March, is joining in. All with the prospect of forming a new parliamentary group with Orbán and the rather ambitious goal of jointly becoming decisive for the construction of a new majority in Brussels. This is what lies behind yesterday's steps towards isolating the AfD.”

Polityka (PL) /

Far right divided over stance vis-á-vis Russia

Polytika lists the divergent positions on the war in Ukraine among the EU's far right camps:

“Meloni is the most pro-Ukrainian, and is even lobbying for Kyiv in the White House, as well as for the strengthening of Euro-Atlantic ties. Le Pen has also quickly abandoned her pro-Russian stance, while Salvini and Santiago Abascal from Spain's Vox party are increasingly cautious about emphasising the need for peace talks. At the other end of the spectrum are Viktor Orbán, the main stumbling block in the EU's aid efforts for Kyiv, and the AfD, whose foreign policy is mainly driven by Maximilian Krah.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Playing the victim won't cut it anymore

Now things are getting critical for the AfD, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The fact that it is now European right-wing parties that are breaking their ties with the AfD following Krah's statements has silenced the party's usual defensive reflexes. The AfD can no longer pretend that only the left-wing and hostile German public is accusing it of downplaying Nazi crimes. After all, Marine Le Pen or Matteo Salvini can't be accused of having an exaggerated left-wing bias. The emerging split in the European right is now forcing the AfD to decide on a direction. ... If it continues on the path that Krah and his supporters want to guide it along, it will probably become a niche party in eastern Germany.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

No reason to give the all-clear

Anyone who thinks the break will weaken the European far-right is mistaken, warns taz:

“This division is primarily motivated by domestic politics. Le Pen wants to present a moderate image with regard to Europe, but above all for the 2027 presidential election in France. Racist and revisionist slogans à la Krah don't fit in with this strategy. She has rid herself of a liability, c'est tout. ... The music is playing elsewhere - in Paris, Rome and Madrid. In the Spanish capital the far right held a big meeting last weekend at which Argentinian President Javier Milei was feted. ... The new motto is not to get out of the EU but to reorganise the bloc from within. That doesn't make Europe's far right any less dangerous - on the contrary.”