Tuesday

5th Mar 2024

German AfD member expelled from EU parliament group

The third-largest political group in the European Parliament has expelled the remaining member of the German anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

A motion to expel the AfD was supported by 45 members of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group on Tuesday (12 April). Thirteen ECR members voted against, while five abstained.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

In effect, MEP Marcus Pretzell is now without a political home, joining 15 other so-called non-attached members like French former National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen and Polish eurosceptic Janusz Korwin-Mikke, infamous for giving a Nazi salute during a debate.

According to German ECR member Arne Gericke, one of the two authors of the motion, the expulsion had been a done deal, after the AfD's “tendency to radicalise” in the past months.

Statements about using armed violence to prevent illegal migrants entering the country, and an announcement to work closer with the far right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO), were the main straws that broke the ECR's camel's back.

In a press statement, Gericke said Pretzell had become a political “enfant terrible”.

For his part, Pretzell wrote on social media that the vote would “promise a lot of fun in the ECR the coming weeks”.

“I'll leave, dear ECR”, he wrote.

The vote was announced last month in Strasbourg, after the ECR's leadership asked the two AfD members to leave on their own accord.

Pretzell's AfD colleague, Beatrix Von Storch, waited until last Friday (8 April) to leave the ECR, home the the UK's Conservatives and Poland's Law and Justice party. She became a member of the more hardcore eurosceptic group, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, which includes the UK Independence Party and the Italian Five Star Movement.

The quarrel in Strasbourg and Brussels meanwhile has seemingly had little effect on the AfD's popularity in Germany.

Also on Tuesday, the regional parliament of Saxony-Anhalt met for the first time, since March's elections in which the AfD became the second-largest party.

This article originally stated AfD would cooperate with the Austrian People's Party. This was corrected to Freedom Party of Austria (FPO)

Right-wing German MEP quits parliament group

AfD deputy Beatrix von Storch, under fire for anti-immigrant remarks, abandons EU parliament group prior to a vote to kick her out. Future of other AfD member unsure.

Feature

Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour

Ukrainians struggle to match the kindness of individual Hungarians with the nationalist government's pro-Russia rhetoric. "Ukraine's primary enemies are Russians and Putin, obviously. But the number two is Viktor Orbán," Viktoria Petrovszka, a Ukrainian woman living in Hungary, says.

Opinion

The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity

The EU's own analysis has made it clear this is economic self-sabotage, and it's politically foolish three months from European elections where the far-right are predicted to increase support, writes the general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

'Outdated' rules bar MEP from entering plenary with child

During a plenary session in Strasbourg, an MEP was denied access to the chamber because he was carrying his young child, due to unforeseen circumstances. The episode shows parliament's rules need to be updated, several MEPs told EUobserver.

Latest News

  1. EU must overhaul Africa trade offer to parry China, warns MEP
  2. EU watchdog faults European Commission over Libya
  3. Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour
  4. The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity
  5. Defence, von der Leyen, women's rights, in focus This WEEK
  6. The farming lobby vs Europe's wolves
  7. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  8. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us