The European Union elects a new parliament on May 26. We talked with European journalists and NGOs from different European countries to get a picture of the European right wing. We asked them how their local right wing parties want to change the European Union and which marginalized group is hated the most.
Our questions were answered by Simone Rafael, journalist at the pro-democratic and anti-far-right platform www.belltower.news – Network for digital civil society.
What right-wing parties are active in your country/participating in the European elections?
1. AfD / Alternative for Germany
2. NPD / National Democratic Party of Germany
3. Die Rechte – Party for direct democracy and sovereignty of the people („Volk“) and of protection of the motherland („Heimatschutz“)
4. Der III. Weg (The III. Way)
5. Bernd Lucke and the Liberal-Conservative Reformer (LKR)
What are they campaigning for/what is their political agenda?
1. The „Alternative for Germany“ (AfD) is a nationalist, right-wing populist party – with individual representatives who use far-right argumentations and ideology as well. It was founded in 2013 as an EU-skeptical, right-wing liberal party, but radicalized from 2014 inspired by the „Pegida“-movement on the streets, and even more since 2017, when they were elected to Bundestag with 12.6% of the votes. At the same time, openly anti-democratic opinions gained power within the party („Der Flügel“ / „The Wing“). They began to work with openly with racist, Islamophobic, far-right and right-wing extremist groups, for example the Islamophobic „Pegida“ group, the far-right „Identitarian Movement“, far-right think tanks such as „Ein Prozent / One Percent“ and the „Institut für Staatspolitik“ in Schnellroda (see BTN, in German). They stand for EU skepticism, nationalism, Islamophobia, Christian fundamentalism, anti-modernism and hostility against diversity, racism and hostility against refugees, anti-establishment argumentations and historical revisionism (representatives asking for a „final line“ under the historical review of National Socialism, calling National Socialism a “ Bird’s shit “ in the history of Germany, etc.), denial of climate change. The AfD was elected to EU-Parliament in 2014 with 7 deputies. Only 1 of them is left and didn’t leave the AfD (Jörg Meuthen, who replaces Beatrix von Storch when she was elected to the Bundestag).
2. The „NPD“ („National Democratic Party of Germany“) is today a small far-right party, but was for decades the largest far-right party in Germany. Since the AfD came up, the NPD has lost much of its importance, because they lost all bourgeois right-wing voters to the AfD and have been left with Neonazi and right-wing extremist voters only who are fine with their demand to end democracy in Germany. The NPD stands for aggressive nationalism, racism, Islamophobia, hostility againagt refugee hostility, abolition of democracy in Germany. It has a programmatic and linguistic proximity to the historical „NSDAP“ of Adolf Hitler and represents a revanchist ideology. The NPD doesn’t have a mandate in Bundestag or state parliaments in Germany, but it still has around 350 municipal mandates. The NPD currently has 1 seat in the European Parliament (Udo Voigt).
3. „Die Rechte (= the Right-wing) – Party for direct democracy and sovereignty of the people („Volk“) and of protection of the motherland („Heimatschutz“)“ is a neo-Nazi miniature party that serves as a gathering place for far-right extremists dissatisfied with other right-wing parties and members of forbidden „Kameradschaften“ (comradeships – a grass rout oranization structure of Neo-Nazis in Germany). In addition to racism and Islamophobia, she explicitly propagates anti-Semitism and a revanchist view of the world. The top candidate for the European elections 2019 is Ursula Haverbeck-Wetzel, who is currently in prison for repeated Holocaust denial. „The Rights“ have no mandates in the EU Parliament, not even in the Bundestag or state parliaments, but the party has 2 municipal mandates in the councils of Dortmund and Hamm.
4. „The III. Way“ is an even smaller neo-Nazi party in Germany, also founded to continue a forbidden camaraderie structure („Freies Netz Süd“). The party sees itself as a „conscious neo-Nazi elite that is not looking for growth“ and is guided by historical National Socialism in order to offer a „national revolutionary alternative“ to communism and capitalism. „The III. Way “ is not sitting in the European Parliament, and also has no mandates in Germany at all.
5. Bernd Lucke and the „Liberal-Conservative Reformers“ (LKR) are listed here for completeness, but so far they are not a right wing-populist but a mainly Eurosceptical party. The LKR are a party re-founding of the former founder of the AfD, Bernd Lucke. LKR was founded in 2015 as „Alliance for Progress and Beginning / Alfa“ and was re-named 2016 to LKR. The party has not been very active so far. It declares itsself to democracy and fundamental human rights. It claims to be highly skeptical towards the EU, wants the abolition of the euro and asks for strong nation states. The LKR has 1 mandate in the European Parliament because Bernd Lucke left the AfD and foundet LKR, and it has a deputy in the Bremen citizenship as well as some municipal mandate holders for the same reason.
What is their main topic for the European elections?
1. AfD: „We are the alternative for a Europe of freedom!“; “ Freedom instead of Brussels „= EU skepticism (too much regulation, e.g. how to deal with refugees, prohibition of diesel), no Euro, borders are not safe ->“ National sovereignty in asylum and immigration policy “ + „Remigration instead of mass immigration „(racism, hostility against refugee, against the EU), „Save traditions and motherland“ (ment in a nationalistic, excluding way); freedom of movement for EU-citizens should be put to a minimum; Germany pays too much („budget colony of the EU“); if „the left wing“ gains power in the EU, there will be „thinking bans“, contempt of dissenters (that’s them, of course), paternalism through „political correctness“ and it is expensive and they will spend money she does not have; AfD wants a „Europe of strong nations“ (nationalism, ethnopluralism).
2. NPD: „Migration kills“ (racism / hostility against refugee), a Europe of the Fatherlands (ethnopluralism), Volksgemeinschaft instead of EU dictatorship, DEXIT (Germany leaving the EU). They claim for themselves: „resistance is eligible“ and state, the AfD is unreliable and betrays far-right voters.
3. „Die Rechte“ wants to „carry the anger from the street into the parliaments“; if they are elected, they want to „to restore Greater Germany in its natural limits“ (which for them includes territories now belonging to Poland and Russia) and to introduce the 20th of April as a national holiday (Adolf Hitler’s birthday). The EU should be abolished totally, but at least they want DEXIT (Germany leaving the EU).
4. The III. Way: Main motto: „European Confederation instead of EU dictatorship“, a Europe of „sovereign states“ (ethnopluralism, anti-EU). Goal: dissolve the EU and re-organize Europe „on an anti-capitalist and nationalist-ethnic basis.“
5. LKR: Main motto: „The Euro-critics“; they are against the Euro, against a strong EU (slogan: „Preserving values, re-shaping Europe. End of the loss of state control and reform the EU, with a strong Germany and a lean European Union). Basic statement: „Uniformity of all states will destroy Europe“ (ethnopluralism). Refugee policy: „well-protected external borders that prevent uncontrolled immigration“.
What marginalised groups does their campaign oppose the most?
Refugees, Muslims, migrants. But also sexism, anti-feminism and homophobia are topics, at least in the European election programs of 1), 2), 3).
How do they propose to change the EU?
1. AfD: Originally, the AfD wanted the „DEXIT“ if there wasn’t a great change giving the nation states much more freedoms and souvereignity within the EU. Since the AfD had to notice that bigger parts of the German public do not want to exit the EU, they changed and speak now of reforms within the EU (towards nationalism, hostility against minorities and refugees, against human rights and equality).
2. NPD: Germany should leave the EU („DEXIT“ )
3. Die Rechte: Germany should leave the EU („DEXIT“)
4. The III. Way: Germany should leave the EU („DEXIT“)
5. Bernd Lucke and LKR: want a „Europe of sovereign states“. That means u.a. no crisis aid, not for debts and not for bank crises; „GREXIT“ (Greece should leave the EU to protect German taxpayers from liability risks); return to national currencies.
How good do you think their chances are in the elections?
1. AfD: Forecasts speak of between 9 and 16 % of the votes.
2. NPD: No chances to gain influence. Perhaps 1 seat.
3. Die Rechte: No chances at all.
4. The III. Weg: No chances at all.
5. LKR: No chances to gain influence.
All english texts on the European Election 2019:
Text in German: